TAMPA, Fla. — Sweetbay Supermarkets will be zeroing in on its best shoppers in 2009.
A new advertising campaign expected to debut next month is designed to help the 102-store chain forge a more relevant relationship with its core customer, according to Tony Miller, managing partner at Spark, a Tampa-based firm named as Sweetbay's new agency of record last week.
“One of the main things we're going to try to accomplish is to identify, and better connect with, a very specific target audience,” Miller told SN in an interview. “That's something that [Sweetbay] hasn't done enough of in the past.”
Miller said Spark's efforts — which are to include television, radio, print and outdoor advertising, branding work and social media — would be built around resonating with a core shopper as defined by Sweetbay. Typically, he said, supermarkets have tended to aim marketing efforts toward a broader group.
“It's assumed that everybody eats food and everybody goes to the grocery store, so there's no real target audience to hone in on. Sweetbay has already gone on the path of saying, ‘We can't be something for everyone.’ If you try to be something for everyone, you're really nothing to everyone,” Miller said. “We're working on who that target person is, what resonates with that person, and developing our creative solutions around the target.”
Spark was named Sweetbay's new agency after an eight-week review process of Florida-based agencies, Miller said. Sweetbay previously had Pyper Paul & Kenney, also based in Tampa, as its agency of record. Spark's efforts were assisted by a prior strategic partnership with Michael Oransky, a media specialist who for years has worked with Sweetbay and sister chain Hannaford Bros., Miller said.
Spark's expertise across multiple platforms and its in-house production capabilities also appealed to Sweetbay, he added.
“Throughout the review process, it was clear that Spark was listening,” Amy Standard, Sweetbay's vice president of marketing, said in a release. “They took the time to really get to know our business beyond the assignment we gave them. We were looking for a strategic partner to help us grow our brand and Spark demonstrated that this type of collaboration is at the core of what they do.”
Sweetbay, which was crafted by Belgium-based owner Delhaize Group from the remnants of the former Kash n' Karry chain, recently marked the five-year anniversary of its first store opening in Seminole, Fla. The brand itself “is a direct result of extensive research of Florida's consumers,” according to the company, with stores that seek to present the vibrant colors, tastes and aromas of food that's important to Floridians.
Miller said Spark had just begun to work on the new campaign, and declined to provide details, but said the new ads are tentatively scheduled for a February release.