Shaw’s, Star Stand Pat, For Now

Greenberg, Heater Move Forward as Key Client Executive Leaves
BOSTON–Despite the recent acquisition of Shaw’s Supermarkets by Star Markets and the departure of a key client executive, the companies’ two roster agencies are maintaining a “business as usual” approach.
Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners in Boston is East Bridgewater, Mass.-based Shaw’s agency of record; Heater Advertising in Boston handles ads for Cambridge, Mass.-based Star.
Heater is meeting next week to plan Star’s fall branding campaign and has been told there won’t be any changes in direction for now, said account director Jennie Smith Wilson.
“They have both worked hard to create separate identities,” Wilson said of the supermarkets. “They don’t want to give that up.”
Greenberg was hired as Shaw’s agency of record in December and three weeks ago launched a double-coupon promotion with television, radio and print executions throughout New England.
“Everything is business as usual,” said Greenberg Seronick representative Deborah Picardi. “[Shaw’s] is an extremely active account. We are concentrating on the brand and its own personality.”
It will take from three to five years for 41 Star Markets to be converted to the Shaw’s brand (seven Star and three Shaw’s locations will be sold), said Shaw’s representative Bernard Rogan. For most of that period, the stores will be advertised separately, he added.
“Things are in a state of flux,” said Rogan, who added that it’s too early to say whether one or both of the current agencies will stay with Shaw’s or whether there will be a review.
Interestingly, Greenberg Seronick served as Star’s agency of record for nine years until four years ago, when Carole O’Connor Gates was hired as executive vice president of marketing at Star. At that time, she conducted an agency review and hired Heater.
Gates, who is among five Star executives to recently leave the company, has opened her own marketing consulting firm in Wellesley, Mass. She plans to consult to clients on marketing issues such as branding, agency relationships, sales promotions and public relations.
Gates last week said she had been pleased with Heater overall. “They understand the brand and the psyche of Star Market,” she said.
Shaw’s, which is owned by London-based J. Sainsbury, spent $2.7 million on advertising in 1998; Star spent $1.3 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.