GRAND UNION SPRINGS BACK WITH ACCENT ON LOW PRICES

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Supermarket chain Grand Union is moving quickly to establish an image as a low-price leader in a yearlong $3.7 million advertising push tied to its restructuring.

Less than 15 days after Grand Union named Mark Russell & Associates, Syracuse, N.Y., as its agency, the 230-store supermarket chain broke a new campaign that, like its predecessor advertising, touts low prices. But the creative execution, unlike previous advertising from Grulich-Koenig, Miami, is aimed more at conveying an image of Grand Union as a low-price chain than pointing out the sale of the week.

"The company is really taking a hard look at where it's been and where it's going and they've really focused their efforts," said Tom Merrick, VP-creative director at Russell.

Since the $2.3 billion grocer emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 1995, it has undergone a huge restructuring to improve aspects of its business such as merchandising and marketing.

EMPHASIZING IMPROVEMENTS

The chain, which operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, has been steadily improving customer service and store conditions.

In one spot, a bagger is doing a step aerobics workout holding a bag of Grand Union groceries. The exercise pays off when the bagger is able to shed $3.54 from the price of the groceries, symbolizing that Grand Union is cutting dollars from consumers' grocery bills like an exercise enthusiast sheds pounds.

The voice-over says, "Step up to more lower prices now at the best supermarket in town-Grand Union."

In late summer, Grand Union plans to follow up the lower price theme with a campaign highlighting products, including take-out deli foods.

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