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Gray, Giant Are on the Outs

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ATLANTA-Giant Foods, one of the flagship clients at Baltimore's Gray, Kirk Vansant, has placed its account into review after internal shifts at the supermarket chain.
Billings for the account, which is based in Carlisle, Pa., are $9 million.
The agency, for the time being, is continuing to handle Giant's public relations support, but that appears subject to change as well.
"We have not signed the new [public relations] contract with [the agency] yet," said Denny Hopkins, vice president of marketing and sales at Giant. "We are under an expired contract. I don't want to confirm that they will continue as our agency. They are still doing our public relations, but a new contract is being negotiated."
According to the agency, the split came about as a result of reduced account activity, which led to a disagreement over compensation. The account had been at the $9 million level until the last few months, when it dropped to $2 million. This reduced spending occurred simultaneously with the client's merger activities.
Earlier this month, Giant awarded some broadcast creative work to Leslie Advertising in Greenville, S.C. Leslie is the agency for Bi-Lo Food Stores, a part of Royal Ahold, which also owns Giant Foods.
Hopkins said the work with Leslie was the client "experimenting." Giant's media is with Universal Media in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
"I would think down the line we will name an agency of record," Hopkins added. "You don't go through an ad search very often. There's a lot of things happening, and I'm not prepared to make any definitive statements." ƒ