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    Stop & Shop/Giant Lets Shoppers Speak in New Campaign

    QUINCY, Mass. -- To mark the first anniversary of its "Value Improvement Program" (VIP), which slashes prices across the store, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Giant Food said yesterday it will debut a multimedia ad campaign next week that features four loyal customers professing why they shop at the Ahold banners.

    QUINCY, Mass. -- To mark the first anniversary of its "Value Improvement Program" (VIP), which slashes prices across the store, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Giant Food said yesterday it will debut a multimedia ad campaign next week that features four loyal customers professing why they shop at the Ahold banners.

    The grocer yesterday also said it was rolling out price reductions on such items as pastas, soups, rice and bean dishes, tuna, sauces, macaroni and cheese meals, and Mexican foods.

    The new ad campaign will encompass television, radio, and the Internet. "For the first time we're actually letting real customers talk about us, rather than us constructing a message," Judi Palmer, Stop & Shop's senior director of marketing and communications, was quoted as saying in the Patriot Ledger here. "We didn't know what to expect, but it ended up being a very gratifying experience."

    The ads will air during such prime-time programs as "Grey's Anatomy," "Ugly Betty" and "Dancing With the Stars," and will also run in other time slots when their target audience of women and working mothers are most likely to be watching.

    The campaign, created by the Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen ad agency, includes four "no-frills" TV commercials without music or flashy graphics, featuring Noreen Kennedy and Maggy Cook for Stop & Shop, and Megan Lee and Natalie Tucker for Giant. All discuss their daily lives and their appreciation of the stores' lower prices, as well as incorporating the new slogan "Stop & Shop (Giant) works for me."

    The women, who also appear in the radio ads, were chosen from a larger group of shoppers who participated in the chain's grocery advisory board, wrote positive letters to the company or were approached by associates outside the stores, Palmer told the Patriot Ledger.

    The television and radio ads will debut along with new in-store advertising and Internet "microsites," www.stopandshop.tv and www.giantfood.tv, that will permit visitors to post comments and videos.

    Over the past year the banners said they have lowered prices on over 6,000 items through VIP.

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