LOS ANGELES - A food fight got into full swing last week as Ralph's launched a newspaper campaign to counter the Lucky's campaign introduced earlier this month. The Ralph's ads tell shoppers the Compton, Calif.-based grocer cut prices on 2000 items, a direct hit to Lucky's, which, in its new campaign, says it slashed 2500 prices.
Lucky's, with a market share of 14.2 in 1991, and Ralph's, at 14.1 in L.A., according to the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, D.C., are neck-in-neck competitors.
In the escalating grocery store price wars, Dublin, Calif.-based Lucky, in ads from Grey Advertising/L.A., has defined itself as 'the low-price leader,' using a spokesperson known as the 'Lucky Lady.' But as warehouse clubs have stolen shoppers from traditional grocers, Lucky's low-price message lost some of its impact.
'Lucky is caught in a delicate game of wanting to compare with grocery stores and fend off price clubs,' said Tom Pirko, president of Bevmark/L.A., a consultancy. 'They don't want to get in a price comparison with the price clubs because they'd get massacred,' he said.
The Lucky's campaign begins as its former commercials did; then a voiceover breaks in, and Lucky's ceo, Larry Del Santo, takes over, telling viewers it's not business as usual at Lucky's.
Another competitor, Vons, also uses its former ceo Bill Davila as spokesperson, but Grey chairman/ceo Miles Turpin said the Lucky strategy is different. Calling him the 'personification' of Lucky, Turpin said Del Santo is meant to signify something out of the ordinary and won't be a permanent spokesperson.
A Ralph's spokesperson refused comment, and agency Davis Ball & Colombatto/L.A. did not return phone calls.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)