Spies Infiltrate Supermarkets

Spies in drag infiltrate Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market locations in a regional TV campaign introducing the tagline “The choice is yours.”

The effort breaks this week from Boston shop Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners and features two male “spies” dressed in women’s clothing.

The client spent nearly $6 million on ads in 2000, according to CMR.

In the new spots, the agents—apparently in the employ of an unidentified rival grocery chain—check out the produce, bakery, deli and seafood sections of Shaw’s and Star locations. The effort is intended to evoke a spirit of “playfulness and fun,” said client representative Bernard Rogan.

This marks the first time the two chains, both units of London-based J. Sainsbury, have shared a unified ad campaign. Six spots have been produced and the effort will run at least through year’s end.

A TV campaign last year used arty visual techniques (split screens, odd camera angles) and mildly suggestive dialogue, closing with a voiceover extolling shoppers to “Get in the habit” of using the Shaw’s Rewards Card. In the past, some Shaw’s ads had been tagged “Good food costs less at Shaw’s.”

J. Sainsbury operates 185 Shaw’s and Star Markets in New England, including 88 in Massachusetts. Green berg Seronick has worked with the client since 1998.