Connelly Wins Shaw’s Supermarkets

BOSTON Connelly Partners/CGN today was named to handle the estimated $3-5 million ad account of Shaw’s Supermarkets, an assignment that includes developing campaigns for the client’s Shaw’s and Star Market chains.

The Boston agency, which in the past year has quietly established itself as one of New England’s hottest small shops, outpaced incumbent Allen & Gerritsen, Watertown, Mass.; Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I.; and Bouchez Kent & Co., New York, in a review managed by consultants with Pile and Co., Boston.

“The selection was challenging” and the contenders were evenly matched, but Connelly’s “experience and fresh thinking” won the day, said Nicola DeFelice, Shaw’s svp, marketing. She did not elaborate.

The West Bridgewater, Mass.-based 185-store chain, a unit of U.K. conglomerate J. Sainsbury, was seeking a traditional retail approach in its ads, rather than the somewhat edgier creative the incumbent had crafted in recent years, sources said.

Such work included commercials for Shaw’s and Star tagged “The choice is yours” and featuring spokesmen who “infiltrate” client stores in drag. Those mildly controversial ads broke in late 2001 from Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners, which has since been absorbed by Allen & Gerritsen, which ranks as the region’s largest independent media-driven agency. The client may also have believed its business became lost at the larger, merged shop and wanted the more intense attention a smaller agency can provide, sources said. Client officials have never provided a rationale for the review.