Media buying duties remain at ICG/L.A.
The review is the latest in a series of efforts at Thrifty to revive the flagging drug store chain, which ranked 11th in dollar volume among the top 50 American drug stores in 1992, according to Drug Store News. Thrifty's 1992 sales of $1.8 billion were relatively flat against the prior year.
The chain has struggled for market share in a battle with competitors Sav-on and Long's, in part because it had failed to contemporize the look of its stores or the tone of its advertising, observers said.
In May, 1991, Thrifty was sold to a management-led buyout group headed by investment firm Leonard Green & Partners, from former parent Pacific Enterprises. In April of this year, Thrifty chairman and ceo Bill Yingling, who had brought Basso & Associates into the fold the year before, resigned his post in a move that surprised the industry, according to trade reports.
Days before his resignation, the company had launched a new ad campaign themed 'Rediscover Thrifty' with radio, TV, print and in-store signage. A key feature of the campaign was 'Thrifty Buys,' a cycle of two-week, temporary price reductions on hundreds of items. Larger competitor Sav-on quickly retaliated with its own discount-oriented campaign: 'Today, if you want to be thrifty, better check the prices at Sav-on.'
The current review is being conducted by senior vp/marketing and merchandising Gary Rocheleau and director of advertising Bill Elgersma, who both joined Thrifty around the time Yingling arrived. Thrifty president Dan Seigal, who replaced Yingling as chief executive, has not yet met with agencies. Executives at the agencies declined to confirm their involvement in the review.
Rocheleau did not return calls. The review, now at the get-acquainted stage, will conclude with presentations June 23 and 24 at Thrifty headquarters.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)