News Briefs


7-Eleven Seeks ‘Brands With Heart'

7 eleven


7-Eleven is calling on innovative and emerging CPG brands to apply to the retailer's fifth annual Brands with Heart program, which gives brands the opportunity to have their products added to the shelves of 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes stores across the U.S. The application process is live at and will remain open through the end of July.

The retailer is looking for items across categories that meet the needs of its on-the-go customers, including snacks, beverages, alcoholic beverages and better-for-you products, according to a media release.

Whether the product is ready to hit the shelves or still in the development stages, all emerging brands are encouraged to apply. Submissions will be reviewed throughout the month of August. Standout products will be invited to attend the Brands with Heart showcase Nov. 1-3 in Irving, Texas. There brands will present to company employees and meet with merchandising teams for coaching and mentoring.

Following the showcase, select brands will be invited to participate in an in-store test at select 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes stores across the U.S.

"7-Eleven has a legacy of innovation from to-go coffee to self-serve soda fountains and Brands with Heart is just another example of how we're innovating to meet customers' needs," Nikki Boyers, vice president of private brands at 7‑Eleven, said in the release. "The Brands with Heart showcase allows us to scout for the best new products for our customers, while also giving smaller brands the chance to shine."

"We look forward to the Brands with Heart showcase every year," added Adam Franks, director of private and emerging brands at 7-Eleven. "We love helping these up-and-coming brands grow and thrive. In fact, Elite Donuts is an alum of the Brands with Heart program, which is sold in many of our stores today across the country."



Lisa Roath Named Target's Chief Marketing Officer


Target promoted 17-year company veteran Lisa Roath (pictured) to executive vice president and chief marketing officer in July. She now leads Target’s core marketing functions, including creative, guest marketing strategy, retail brand experience, social media, paid media strategy and marketing strategy and operations.

Roath reports to Cara Sylvester, EVP and chief guest experience officer.  

“Marketing plays such an important role in Target’s guest experience and brings to life the inspiration, care and connection people feel when they shop with us,” Sylvester said in a media release. “[Roath’s] detailed understanding of the retail landscape, her experience leading teams to deliver strong business results and her deep knowledge of and empathy for our guests make her the ideal candidate to steward Target’s brand and grow our relationship with guests.” 

During her tenure at Target, Roath most recently served as senior vice president of food and beverage merchandising. She led the team through a period of “explosive growth” as Target increased its annual food and beverage sales by more than $5 billion since 2019, according to the release. During that time, Roath also helped quadruple the number of emerging brands in its assortment. Prior to that, she held a variety of leadership roles across the company, including on the pricing and promotions and merchandising teams.   

In another mass merchant personnel move, Insite AI, an AI-enabled category and revenue growth partner for large CPGs, hired Walmart’s former vice president of merchandising, Kristine Joji, as EVP of strategy consulting. During her more than 20 years at Walmart, Joji worked with executives at top CPGs in dry goods and consumables. In her new role, she will leverage her extensive experience in driving merchandising strategies to help Insite AI’s CPG clients further elevate their retail partnerships.


Omnicom to Acquire German Creative Agency


Global marketing and communications company Omnicom Group is acquiring Grabarz & Partner to bolster its position in Germany and gain more advertising market share.

Founded in 1993, Grabarz & Partner is a creative agency headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. With more than 260 employees, the agency works with global and local clients such as Deutsche Bahn, Ikea, Lidl and Porsche.

The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2023. Following the closing, Grabarz & Partner's management team will continue to serve in their current roles.

"We're thrilled to add one of the most creative agencies in Germany to our roster and to lean into its stellar reputation in one of Europe's most important economic regions for our clients," said John Wren, chairman and CEO of Omnicom, in a media release. "Our shared vision for creative excellence is what drew us to them, and we look forward to the impact they'll make as part of Omnicom.”

"Throughout our 30 years of existence, we've received many offers for our agency,” Ralf Heuel, co-founder and managing partner at Grabarz & Partner, said in the release.  “Omnicom was the first one that truly piqued our interest as they presented us a tailor-made plan that took into account our goals and vision, our strategy as a creative agency, and, above all, our unique culture formed by the last three decades."



UK Grocer Morrisons Bolsters Loyalty, Promotions Capabilities


U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons and marketing technology company Eagle Eye Solutions have entered into a five-year agreement to further develop the retailer’s loyalty and promotional offerings.

Morrisons will leverage Eagle Eye's API-based AIR platform to enhance its loyalty program, Morrisons More, which allows customers to benefit from exclusive prices and earn points on selected products in-store, online and on fuel. The new capabilities enhance customer engagement online and in-store, and help the supermarket scale the number of broadcast and targeted/personalized offers available, according to a media release from Eagle Eye. 

The upgraded experience will roll out to all 499 stores nationwide and is expected to go live later in 2023.

"This has been a transformational year for our More Card loyalty scheme, and we are very pleased to be working with Eagle Eye, who are an acknowledged leader in this field, as we implement our plans to develop the scheme still further for our customers,” Rachel Eyre, Morrisons chief customer and marketing officer, said in the release.

In May, Morrisons brought back its More Card loyalty program to replace its My Morrisons app following a successful trial. The Morrisons More program can be used as a physical card or app to earn points.

In January, Eagle Eye completed its acquisition of Untienots SAS (known as Untie Nots), a French SaaS company that enables retailers to develop personalized and gamified promotions at scale.


Giant Food Names Creative Agency of Record

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Ahold Delhaize’s Giant Food has named Heart & Soul Marketing its strategic creative agency of record.

The regional grocer, which has stores across Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia (DMV), has tapped the boutique agency to develop a fresh brand campaign focused on a “shared sense of community” that helps modernize its image, while maintaining its position as a local grocery chain in the metropolitan area, according to a media release.

Heart & Soul will lead the creative concepting and campaign development for television, radio, out-of-home, seasonal and in-store. The campaign is slated to debut in early 2024. It will showcase Giant Food’s roots in the DMV and how it “nourishes its community through great food and strong human connections,” per the release.

"We have been proud to be a part of the community for over 87 years and [Heart & Soul Marketing’s] fresh perspective and commitment to connecting with consumers aligns with our vision to share the stories that make Giant Food so special to the 165 communities that we serve," Dyani Hanrahan, vice president of marketing for Giant Food, said in the release.

Heart & Soul was selected through a nationwide request-for-proposal process spearheaded by the Mercer Island Group, a management consulting firm in Washington and longtime partner of Giant Food and Ahold Delhaize.

Heart & Soul was founded in 2020 and is based in Phoenix. As Giant Foods’ agency partner, Heart & Soul will be responsible for bringing the overarching brand strategy and creative direction to life while supporting seasonal campaigns and the retailer’s growth drivers.

The Giant Food account is expected to increase the size of Heart & Soul by at least 20% as it adds positions in account services, copywriting, graphic design, production artists and social media.


Kevin Hart's Wellness Brand Launches at Walmart


Walmart has become the exclusive retailer of another celebrity backed brand. VitaHustle, actor/comedian Kevin Hart’s nutritional wellness brand, recently launched on and in stores nationwide.

The product  which uses plant-based ingredients and includes VitaHustle ONE superfood protein, ONE superfood greens, electrolyte hydration drink mixes and gummy vitamins — is stocked in the vitamin aisle in stores. Prices from $11.98 to $24.98.

VitaHustle also operates its own standalone website, offering DTC delivery and a subscription model.

Hart’s partnership with Walmart allows VitaHustle to reach a broader audience, particularly with a retailer that shares its goal of making wellness more accessible, according to a media release from the brand.

"We are thrilled to work with Kevin and bring VitaHustle to Walmart," Vinima Shekhar, Walmart vice president of merchandising, wellness, said in the release. "Together with VitaHustle, we will empower our customers to explore products that elevate their wellness routines to save money and live better."

Walmart is no stranger to forming exclusive partnerships with emerging, DTC and celebrity-backed brands, such as Betr Remedies, the socially conscious OTC medicine brand co-founded by actor Ellen Pompeo. In 2021, the mass merchant also became the exclusive retailer for several DTC cosmetics brands with huge social media followings, including KAB Cosmetics, a brand co-founded by former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kim Zolciak-Biermann.