Online Grocers Deliver for Hal Riney, Wieden




2 Clients in the Growing Category Award About $200 Mil.
LOS ANGELES–The online grocery delivery category is heating up as two of the larger players last week awarded their ad accounts.
Webvan Group boosted its ad budget nearly tenfold and selected Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco to handle it. The company is rolling out its services nationwide and sources said it may spend $150-200 million on marketing efforts. Riney is expected to produce a national radio, TV and print campaign. Client and agency officials confirmed the win, but declined further comment.
The Foster City, Calif.-based company is in a Securities and Exchange Commission-mandated quiet period, in preparation for its upcoming IPO. Previously, Webvan used Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young for its launch in the Bay Area, its first market. Prompted by expansion and IPO plans, the $15-20 million ad account was placed in review two months ago, and the incumbent resigned.
Separately, HomeGrocer.com, Kirkland, Wash., hired Wieden & Kennedy to handle its $10 million account. The client also intends to expand nationwide. The Portland, Ore.-based shop, which has been expanding its roster of e-business clients (AltaVista, Stamps.com, eVineyard.com) in recent months, will be responsible for developing a campaign that will include TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising.
“[HomeGrocer is] providing a service that harkens back to the days of the milkman,” said Bill Davenport, managing director of the agency. “That’s what attracted us as well as the people [at the client].”
Wieden’s initial ads are slated to break in November in California as well as fortify the company’s presence in Washington and Oregon. HomeGrocer plans to expand to more than 20 markets over the next year. The target primarily consists of busy moms, Davenport said.
Susan Hoffman, newly returned from Wieden’s London office, will lead the creative team, and Sandy Chen heads the account.
Meanwhile, Peapod, the trailblazing Internet grocer, and Food.com, an Internet-based restaurant meal take-out-and-delivery service, last week announced that they have entered into a co-marketing agreement.
Although exact figures are not available, the online food business comprises less than 1 percent of the estimated $720 billion grocery market. That number is expected to grow only slightly over the next few years, industry observers say.