Richards Bags Supermarket Chain

Minnesota’s Supervalu Takes Broadcast Creative Outside Midwest
DALLAS–Several undisclosed shops in the Midwest were passed over for the Supervalu supermarket chain’s estimated $5 million broadcast creative account, snapped up by The Richards Group in Dallas.
The client is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn.; the account had been shopped by Minneapolis consultant Claude Stevens.
Richards will be responsible for new brand imaging assignments for the 3,100-unit company’s differing store brands, which include Cubs Food Stores, Save-A-Lot and Shop n’ Save groceries.
Richards account director Dale Hruby said the shop has the task of overseeing Supervalu’s first centralized branding effort across its multiregional marketing area of the North, Midwest and Southeast.
“The challenge varies from market to market,” Hruby said. “Where they are a dominant player, they want to solidify that standing. In other [markets], they want to at least move up to No. 2.”
Billings on Richards’ work was not disclosed. In May 1998, when the review was initially launched by the value-oriented chain, sources pegged the broadcast assignment at $3-5 million. Supervalu spent $5.4 million on advertising in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Print work will remain in-house, while media buying and planning stay with Haworth Marketing & Media, Minnetonka, Minn. Previous creative assignments were doled out on a project and freelance basis to other shops, Hruby said.
Stevens referred calls to the client. Supervalu marketing director Kathy Peddle did not return calls by press time.
The search was originally under the auspices of Cricklewood Consultants, also in Minnetonka, but that firm resigned the job in June 1998, citing conflicts with potential finalists.
Aiding Richards’ cause was its broadcast branding experience for San Antonio, Texas-based H.E. Butt Grocery Co. Richards is able to retain that client since Supervalu has no stores or distribution centers in HEB’s principal market of Texas.
Other units in the Supervalu family include Laneco, Scott’s Foods, Hornbacher’s and Bigg’s Foods.
–with Aaron Baar