The future of bargain hunter Gladys Smith, introduced last month in ads for Ames Department Stores, is under review.
Created by Mintz & Hoke in Avon, Conn., a series of documentary-style TV spots starring the spokesperson ran in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, where Ames recently opened 54 stores.
"She is a humorous embodiment of the Ames shopper," said Mintz & Hoke creative director Chuck Borghese.
In the first "teaser" ad, Smith speaks of her bargain-hunting heritage (her grandmother was a professional shopper), the community college course she teaches on smart shopping and how to train for a big spree. Borghese said Ames executives were happy with the campaign and that sales were "great" on opening day, but he doesn't know if they will use Smith in future spots.
Mintz & Hoke typically creates humorous ads to promote Ames' one-day sales every few months, along with spots touting new stores. The agency has done creative work for Ames for more than four years and took over media buying duties in January 1998. Borghese would not disclose the size of the account but said it is one of the agency's largest pieces of business.
Ames, based in Rocky Hill, Conn., competes with retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and Bradlees. Ames recently acquired Hills and has taken over some former Caldor sites, increasing its total number of locations to more than 450 and its sales to nearly $4 billion.