Texas Grocer Signs First Agency

United Supermarkets Assigns Creative Duties to The Think Tank
DALLAS–T3 (The Think Tank) has won the creative assignment for United Supermarkets, a more than $1 million account.
The Austin, Texas, agency edged two other finalists, Fellers in Austin and Hadeler, Sullivan & Law in Dallas. A total of seven agencies had made full presentations, which included speculative creative work.
“Obviously we’re very excited; it’s a great creative opportunity,” said Laura Nell Soules, a spokesperson for the winning agency.
“We feel they chose us for our creative ability and just the chemistry between our people,” Soules added.
United Supermarkets director of marketing Renee Underwood concurred. “Their creative is very out of the box, which is what we’re looking for,” she said.
The account win is the second major acquisition for T3, which recently took on the $10-15 million business of Rx.com. The agency has grown from 48 to 63 employees since the beginning of the year.
United Supermarkets, based in Lubbock, Texas, operates a 40-store grocery chain in West Texas. The agency relationship is the first for the client, which previously worked on a project basis with various shops to create two previous campaigns: “The personal touch” and “Real savings for real people.”
A new television-based brand imaging campaign is expected to launch in January 2000.
Said T3 president Gay Warren Gaddis, “We’re interested in using humor, or something that will be a little bit of a breakthrough in their industry.” In the meantime, “we’ll send staff out to sack groceries, meet people and get to understand their market,” she added.
United Supermarkets is looking to freshen its retail image in conjunction with an ongoing expansion into new markets. The grocery chain, which spends a significant amount of its advertising budget on newspaper inserts, will handle media buying in-house.
United’s traditional stores average 35,000 square feet and offer deli, gourmet and automotive items, as well as standard supermarket fare. A new upscale store format, called Market Street, is nearly twice the size of the traditional locations and encompasses a number of specialty shops.
The privately held company ranks No. 454 on Forbes’ Private 500 list. In 1998, United Supermarkets had estimated storewide sales of $520 million, a 15 percent increase over the previous year’s total.