The campaign comes in the wake of the Jack In The Box tragedy, in which two people died and many others have had food poisoning from eating contaminated meat supplied by Vons. The campaign, which consists of one radio and one TV spot, ran between Feb. 8-11 to coincide with a special meat sale. Copy included the information that the meat was both inspected and graded by the USDA.
Vons' ad agency, DDB Needham/L.A., referred calls to Vons. Spokespersons at Vons did not respond to phone calls.
Jack In The Box, ran a special ad after the incidents with its chairman, Jack Goodall, expressing sorrow, saying the chain had increased the cooking time of its meat, and fired its meat supplier. The chain did not name Vons specifically in the ad.
Sheree Zizzi, director of corporate communications for San Diego-based Foodmaker, Jack In The Box's parent company, said that it may run another spot using Goodall. 'We think there is value in continuing the message-from-the-chairman type advertising for a short period of time before resuming product specific ads,' she said. Zizzi also said that the first week after the outbreak, Jack In The Box sales were down 2.8%. In the following two weeks, sales dropped 30-35%. Those figures are in comparison to figures from the same period of time a year ago.
At one L.A.-area Vons, a worker in the meat department said that sales were down $3,000-$4,000 in a week.
'Jack In The Box is most directly connected with the problem. Vons is only peripherally connected, so (Vons) coming out with a quality message like this may well be taking the best approach,' said Jody Moxham, president of Phase One/L.A., a communications analysis firm which tracks advertising.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)