Aldi Awards Marketing Duties to McCann Erickson

Grocery Retailer Has Plans to Open 75 Stores This Year

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- McCann Erickson, Birmingham, Mich., has picked up marketing duties for growing grocery chain Aldi, according to executives familiar with the matter.

The German chain, which in the U.S. is headquartered in Batavia, Ill., is one of a few companies that, despite a tough economy, is forging ahead with aggressive expansion plans.

Store openings planned
Aldi opened more than 100 new U.S. stores in the past year, and has announced plans to open an 75 stores in 2009, betting on a low-price model and commitment to carrying a limited assortment of private-label items.

Since coming stateside in 1976, the supermarket chain has opened more than 1,000 locations in 29 states. It serves an estimated 15 million customers a month. It also operates in several European countries and Australia.

Securing the account will offer some stability for the Interpublic Group of Cos.' agency as the office's major client, General Motors Corp., faces uncertainty. McCann Erickson handles GM's corporate advertising as well as work for Saab, a brand that could be a casualty in the wake of a massive government bailout.

Increased ad spending in 2008
A McCann spokeswoman referred calls to the client, which could not be immediately reached. Most recently, Aldi's agency of record was John & Low, Chicago.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Aldi spent a total of $4 million on domestic measured media for all of 2007, but increased spending to $10.4 million between January and September of 2008.

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Contributing: Jean Halliday, Emily Bryson York