Greenberg Sexes Up Shaw’s Ads

The latest campaign for Shaw’s Supermarkets from Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners uses unexpected visual techniques and suggestive dialogue to tout the benefits of the Shaw’s Rewards Card.

There’s not a shopping cart, well-stocked aisle or helpful store employee to be found. In fact, the supermarkets themselves don’t appear.

Instead, a trio of 30-second spots breaking this week throughout New England feature a middle-aged, salt-and-pepper haired interviewer who questions young, attractive women about the rewards card.

In one execution, the subject, obscured by shadows, begins in salacious tones: “It’s easy to get. It’s free. I got mine in the mail.” The interviewer replies: “Unbelievable.” She continues, voice rising: “First it was once a week. Now it’s practically every day.” He prompts, clearly intrigued: “How does it feel?” She concludes: “I can’t stop using it. I get the lowest prices in the store!”

The client “has always bought aggressive ideas” for its ads in an effort to stand out in the often predictable retail grocery category, said Gary Greenberg, co-chairman of Greenberg Seronick, Boston.

In a second commercial, a different subject explains: “There are a lot of women around here just like me. Using i t. I leave work, thinking about my husband and my children. The next thing you know, I’m taking it out of my purse.” Asked “how do you feel?” she responds: “Wonderful! Who wouldn’t!”

The cool, risque quality is underscored by nondescript sets, arty camera angles and split-screening, and quirky music heard on the soundtrack. The campaign takes its cinematic inspiration from 60 Minutes and the trend-setting 1968 heist film The Thomas Crown Affair, Greenberg said.

Spots close with a voiceover urging consumers to “Get in the habit” of using the card at Shaw’s and Star Market locations. Greenberg Seronick handles the Shaw’s and Star chains—both owned by J. Sainsbury. Annual combined spending is in the $4-5 million range.