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Advertising Age reports that "eight years after merging with Safeway and five months after announcing a planned deal with Kroger, Albertsons is unifying marketing for its two dozen grocery chains through a new campaign that offers a matching theme while each brand retains its own name.

"For the first time, the Boise, Idaho-based retailer, known for grocery chains such as Jewel-Osco, Acme and Tom Thumb, will promote its 24 grocery store brands under one marketing message.

"Called 'Sincerely,' the brand positioning functions as a promise to customers that Albertsons can provide the products and services needed for their everyday lives. A series of videos showcase different types of cuisine and family gatherings as a voiceover personifies food."

According to the story, "Albertsons’ new strategy comes as shoppers continue to evaluate their grocery buying amid record-high price increases. The costs of everyday essentials, such as eggs, have soared by triple-digit percentages in recent months and retailers need to provide compelling reasons for customers to shop at their stores. Recent reports suggest consumers are turning to alternative lower-price options such as dollar stores for groceries."

Ad Age points out that "the campaign includes in-store ads, digital video, audio and display ads, as well as local TV spots in its various markets … All employees featured in the campaign are actual Albertsons staffers."

KC's View:

It makes absolute sense for Albertsons to unify its broader marketing message in this way, though it also would make sense to allow for local tweaks in places where it makes sense.  I would hope that the divisions would be smart enough to understand that a marketing message like this should be centralized (and if they resisted, the powers that be in Boise would step in and make it so).

It is interesting timing.  While the Ad Age story says that work on the campaign began before the announcement of the proposed $24.6 billion deal with Kroger, a more timid approach would've been to wait and see what happens with the merger.  That wouldn't be smart, though - Albertsons has to keep moving forward, spending money and competing as if the deal is not going to be approved.  For one thing, it might not be.  Plus, if regulators got the sense that Albertsons is not competing aggressively and not making the moves it had committed to before the merger, they might make the case that this actually proves that deal is bad for competition.  That could be a death knell for the acquisition by Kroger.