LOS ANGELES – When Lucky Stores bagged its longtime spokeswoman, Stephanie Edwards, in favor of a campaign that boasted the chain’s new, reduced prices on ev" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

Getting Lucky: Ads Spark New Strategies By J.L. Sulliva

LOS ANGELES – When Lucky Stores bagged its longtime spokeswoman, Stephanie Edwards, in favor of a campaign that boasted the chain’s new, reduced prices on ev

It now looks like the campaign that’s helped the Dublin, Calif.-based chain regain its footing has sent at least one of its competitors – Vons – off in search of new strategies, which could include changing its long-running ad campaign as well. ‘Everything’s up for review,’ said Doug Christopher, an analyst with Crowell Weedon, L.A., of the Arcadia, Calif.-based supermarket chain. ‘It’s definitely not a financial restructuring – it’s an operational restructuring.’
Since Grey/L.A. launched Lucky’s new campaign – with about $26 million in spending for the first six months, according to Competitive Media Reporting – in February, the chain has halted a nine-month sales slide, posting a 0.5% gain in the second quarter, according to a report by Goldman Sachs & Co, which predicts 1% gains for the rest of the year. The same report shows sales for Vons and Ralphs dropped more than 8% during the second quarter, continuing a skein analysts expect through year’s end.
Christopher said that while there have been no decisions yet, that sales drop is making Vons officials take another look at how the supermarket does business. Included in the evaluation may be a shift from the long-held double-coupon, high-quality strategy, and that would likely call for a new ad campaign with additional spending possible.
Ironically, Lucky borrowed a page from Vons for the current campaign, casting company president Larry Del Santo as the star of spots. Del Santo explains the grocer’s efforts to ‘turn stores upside down’ to find price cuts on 2,500 items. Vons – which spent about $20 million in media for the first half of the year, according to CMR – has used former chairman Bill Davila as its spokesperson.
Officials from both Vons and its agency, DDB Needham/L.A., declined comment.
Ralphs, whose agency is Davis, Ball & Colombatto/L.A., declined comment, but agency co-principal Mark Davis said the Lucky campaign won’t spark changes in its client’s advertising. Ralphs spent nearly $15 million on advertising over the first two quarters, compared to over $17 million for the same period a year ago.
While Lucky had earlier added stronger quality messages to its low-cost theme, the resumption of the price-oriented drumbeat proved well-timed. Miles Turpin, chairman/ceo of Grey’s Western division, said market research tapped into the continuing uncertainty among consumers over the region’s economy.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)