GROCERY CHAIN WAWA AWARDS ACCOUNT TO RICHARDS GROUP

Marketer Looks to Expand Private-Label Offerings

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Privately held convenience chain Wawa has named the independent agency Richards Group, Dallas and New York, as the agency for its creative and media account, executives familiar with the situation said.

Participating in the final round of the

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review were three other independents -- Eisner Communications of Baltimore, and MARC of Pittsburgh, and the incumbent media company, Mayo Seitz Media, in Blue Bell, Pa.

Creative incumbent Ritter, in King of Prussia, Pa., elected not to defend the account.

According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Wawa spent $5.1 million in measured media in 2002.

Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., was the review consultant.

Wawa, an Indian name for the Canada Goose, has 540 convenience stores in the mid-Atlantic states, with 140 selling branded gasoline. Already known for its private label hoagies and coffee, Wawa is expected to make a push into additional private label products. The company also owns a dairy that supplies hospitals, schools and other facilities.

In a statement, Lisa Trascher, Wawa's head of consumer insights and brand strategy, said the chain "will require more creative and efficient communication as competition intensifies."

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Hillary Chura contributed to this report.

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