Hear Ames Scullin O’Haire Roar

Ames Scullin O’Haire Advertising has been awarded the full-service agency of record assignment for Food Lion.

The grocery chain’s decision to move the media portion of its account to the Atlanta agency is new. Creative duties were shifted to ASO earlier this year [Adweek, March 20], though the client denied it at the time.

Billings were not disclosed, but Competitive Media Reporting cites 1999 spending at $17 million; $7.5 million through May 2000.

ASO has been the agency of record for Kash ‘n’ Karry Food Stores, Food Lion’s Tampa, Fla.-based sister chain, since 1997. In May, Food Lion broke new ASO-created spots featuring actor Jim Meskimen, the chatty and personable interviewer used in Kash ‘n’ Karry advertising.

“I have had the opportunity to work with Ames Scullin O’Haire through Kash ‘n’ Karry for over three years. … We gave them creative development responsibilities for Food Lion earlier this year,” said David Biery, vice president of marketing at Food Lion.

“I was impressed with the level of participation on the part of the agency’s principals,” Biery continued. “They are aggressive and thorough, and we are confident that they will be an effective partner.”

Food Lion, headquartered in Salisbury, N.C., has more than 1,100 stores in 11 Eastern states, with annual sales exceeding $10 billion. Its previous agency of record was Ogilvy & Mather in Atlanta.

ASO managing director John Ames spent 16 years at Ogilvy, overseeing the Food Lion account for about half that time. He left in 1996 to open ASO. Ames said the account win puts the shop over $100 million in billings in less than four years of existence.

Agency executive creative director Patrick Scullin called Food Lion “absolutely the biggest win to date” for the shop. He spent last week in Elkton, Md., shooting the next round of Food Lion ads, which will break later this month.

Using Meskimen as an amiable interrogator with amused real-life customers “gives the brand a friendly accessibility,” Scullin said.

Food Lion is aggressively expanding in Maryland, where Giant and Safeway are the dominant supermarkets.

In the past year, ASO has won lucrative assignments from UPS, H.J. Heinz, Randstad Staffing Services and Mitsubishi Electronics.