Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A&p President Will Star in TV Ads

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A&p President Will Star in TV Ads

Article excerpt

A&P President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin is about to join the ranks of Lee Iacocca, Frank Perdue, Dave Thomas and other corporate leaders who appeared as pitchmen for their company's TV commercials.

The 30-second ads, which will begin airing Thursday on network and cable stations in the New Jersey/New York and Philadelphia markets, is believed be the first in A&P's history to feature the CEO as chief spokesman. They also represent the first time that A&P has used one ad campaign to promote all of its store brands simultaneously.

A&P is launching the ad campaign two months after emerging from bankruptcy protection as a private company and is trying to win customers in an intensely competitive supermarket landscape. The company filed for bankruptcy in December 2010, after reporting a quarterly loss of $154 million.

In the commercial, Martin is shown interacting with customers in a supermarket saying, "If you haven't been in our stores for awhile, we welcome you back."

Ads featuring CEOs can be more effective than other types of ads, if done right, according to a study released in March by California advertising research firm Ace Metrix. The study rated viewer response to current ads with CEO appearances and found that, in general, the CEO ads outperformed non-CEO spots.

CEO ads also fared better than celebrity commercials, said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. An earlier study found celebrity ads don't work because people who don't like the particular celebrity won't like the ad or the brand.

When the company studied CEO ads it expected similar findings, but learned instead that CEO ads, if done correctly, can be hits.

"They have to be genuine, they have to be contrite if there's an issue that they've screwed up on or they want to change," Daboll said. "If they're saying, 'Hey, we've changed and we're going to do better,' those types of ads tend to do quite well. …

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