Call it a bit of Kash N' Karry-over.
Food Lion's new branding campaign from Ames Scullin O'Haire lifts a page from the agency's work for sister grocery chain Kash N' Karry. It uses the same chatty character who spontaneously interviews customers about the benefits of shopping at the store.
All the ads feature Los Angeles actor Jim Meskimen as an amiable interrogator whose lighthearted attitude is a toned-down blend of Robin Williams and Bill Murray.
But where Kash N' Karry's ads, which have been running for a little over a year, emphasize fresh produce and meat selection, the new Food Lion spots focus on low prices and show Meskimen dressed less formally. Both chains serve the Southeast, but in different locations.
In between asking questions about the low prices at Food Lion, Meskimen sings harmony with customers, plays a cucumber like a musical instrument, and tries bribing a customer to give up her "MVP" discount card.
Neither Food Lion nor the Atlanta agency would provide copies of the six spots or comment on the television campaign, which broke April 17.
Representatives for the Salisbury, N.C.-based client continue to insist that the agency of record for Food Lion remains Ogilvy & Mather in Atlanta, despite sources who insist otherwise. This week Food Lion will add an Ogilvy-created Nascar tie-in spot to the broadcast rotation.
Representatives for Ames Scullin O'Haire would not comment about the agency's relationship with the client.
"I'm beginning to think we should hire Marcel Marceau as our spokesperson," said creative director Patrick Scullin, after declining to answer questions.