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BJ's Enlists 'Anti-Spokesman' for Michigan Launch

New campaign highlights 'fresh take' on the wholesale, club chain says

BJ’s Wholesale Club is using humor and hyperbole to raise consumer awareness ahead of its forthcoming expansion to Michigan.

The Westborough, Mass.-based warehouse club chain—which is making its Michigan debut at two locations near Detroit this fall—hopes the new campaign will call attention to its “fresh take on the wholesale club experience.”

The campaign is centered on an “anti-spokesman” named Frank, who in a new commercial campaign is pictured with a sandwich board rallying customers not to join BJ’s and trolling the retailer’s social media campaign. The ads were created by Terri & Sandy, a New York-based advertising firm.

 

“BJ’s Wholesale Club is bringing consumers a fresh take on the wholesale club experience,” Terri Meyer, co-CEO of Terri & Sandy, said in a statement. “So, we wanted work that would be just as unexpected as what BJ’s Wholesale Club has to offer. The result is an entertaining anti-spokesperson, whose protests will make consumers question why they haven't joined yet.”

Officials of BJ’s have said the chain would emphasize fresh and prepared foods to shoppers in Michigan, where the brand is all but unknown. Earlier this year the chain offered discounted memberships and other perks to members who signed up ahead of its arrival.

The nearest BJ’s stores to metro Detroit are about 150 miles away in Cleveland. Officials said the area holds promise for BJ’s, saying it can be a destination in an area where affordable food options are relatively scarce and an alternative to competing wholesale clubs chains.

“Consumers have more shopping options than ever, and we know some may not be looking for another wholesale club,” said Lee Delaney, EVP and chief commercial officer of BJ’s. “But we know that once shoppers realize that BJ’s Wholesale Club can save them up to 25% off grocery store prices every day, they’ll be eager to join. Our new campaign builds on that promise, showcasing our fresh take on the wholesale club and all of the reasons to join BJ’s.”

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