BE&P Adds Tops to Client Cart

Kansas City Agency’s Locale Doesn’t Deter New York Company
CHICAGO–Geography was not an issue when Tops Friendly Markets’ decided where to shelve its $20 million account.
The Williamsville, N.Y., grocery and convenience store chain selected Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo., to handle the account over review finalist the Wolf Group, which has offices in Tops’ major markets of Buffalo and Roch-ester, N.Y., and Cleveland. The company’s previous agency was Gray, Kirk/VanSant in Baltimore, which resigned to take a competitor’s account.
“We needed to go with someone who was a partner to us,” said client representative Stefanie Zakowicz. “Geography wasn’t really an issue.”
But strategic thinking was.
“They proved that they had depth and strength in strategic planning,” Zakowicz said. She added that the agency’s experience on accounts such as Payless ShoeSource, Dollar Rent a Car and Citgo displayed the shop’s retail knowledge.
The agency, however, was eager to prove it wasn’t geographically challenged when it came to the account. When the client asked to have a phone conversation about possible creative ideas–not re-quired for the pitch–the agency went one better: It put creative director Brian Vetter on a plane to upstate New York.
“We really had to demonstrate that distance wasn’t an issue,” BE&P Inc. president Scott Aylward said. The agency also took a strongly integrated approach and “put a strong direct (marketing) presence on the team,” Aylward said.
“We’ve got to define who this brand is, but having a person in Cleveland, Buffalo and Rochester isn’t going to make a big difference,” he said.
The agency’s duties will include point-of-purchase materials and direct, as well as strategic planning, promotions and brand identity duties. Media will remain at Universal in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Zakowicz said.
The company is only expected to spend $3 million on traditional advertising this year, but below-the-line work brings the value to $10-20 million, Zakowicz said.
The review was handled by Minnetonka, Minn., consultant Jan Apple. K