Supermarket Chain Food Lion Roars for Doner

MDC agency adds advertising chores following a review

Food Lion roared for Doner today, awarding the MDC Group agency its advertising business following a review.

The assignment for the Detroit shop covers integrated marketing planning, targeted advertising campaigns, and media planning and buying. Consultancy Hasan + Company led the evaluation process. 

In a statement, Food Lion president Meg Ham cited Doner's "tremendous experience in the retail sector" as a key factor in its selection, adding that the shop will be asked to "further enhance the emotional connection with our customer." Domestic media spending was $15 million last year and about $7 million through the first half of 2015, per Kantar Media.

For Doner, the win constitutes a much-needed reversal of fortune. This year, the shop bid farewell to JCPenney and AutoTrader, and also closed its Atlanta office.

Interpublic's Mullen Lowe in Winston-Salem, N.C., had handled the supermarket chain's business for the past several years. A rep there said the shop did not defend.

"From the beginning of the review process, we felt strong chemistry with the Food Lion team and that we were a great fit given their aspirations and our retail expertise," said Doner co-CEO David DeMuth.

The agency's first work for the client, which operates more than 1,100 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, is slated to break in the first quarter of 2016.

Food Lion is a unit of Belgian company Delhaize Group, which is in the process of merging with Royal Ahold of Holland, owner of Stop & Shop, among others. The deal will be completed next year, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.