Phoenix Project Entry #3: Bringing Back A&P

A&P Ann PAgeSAVANNAH – Entries are out in the Savannah College of Art & Design’s Phoenix Project. (See a full list of entries here.) At right, one of two concepts for A&P, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (NYSE: GAP).

A&P is about to experience its 150th Anniversary, but it has struggled, and is tiny compared to its heyday, when it had stores across the nation and in Canada. The question asked of the students? How could this once great grocery chain reposition itself? It was once known for Eight o Clock coffee, and was more associated with coffee than Starbucks ever was. But now it is just a regional grocery chain in the Northeast and a few Southern markets.

Nevertheless, it had some legendary in house brands that the company has begun to tap into, including Jane Parker, A&P’s bread and fruitcake brand. It, however, sold Eight O’Clock Coffee, which was once an in house brand that became a national brand because of its association with A&P.

Store Brand Approach

Above, Stephen Cyr goes straight for the nostalgic jugular, with a recall ad for Ann Page, one of many store brands for A&P.

Brand problem: Although once the leader brand in their category, boasting private labels that Americans knew and loved, A&P has shrunk from a unique, national grocery chain to a niche supermarket chain secluded to the Northeast.

Brand solution: Focus on the “Ann Page” private label and use its age as a proof point of its quality and wholesomeness, thus helping to position A&P as an innocent brand.

Burton Runyan’s Quality Ingredients Approach

Here, student Burton C. Runyan takes a high end approach, harkening back to the history of A&P and evoking images of 19th century trading. A bit from Runyan:AandP

Brand Problem: The A&P went from 16,000 stores in the 1930s to only 110 today. In a market with national, regional, and local chains and stores, A&P became lost in the mind of the consumer. The typical grocery supermarkets are all positioned similarly and A&P must break from this to stand out.

Brand Solution: To keep The A&P from becoming The Late, Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, position them as an “Explorer” brand. This is achieved by touting the fact that the chain was once a leader in its category because of a passion for bringing trade goods in to one primary location where everyone could get them. Their 150-year history gives them the credentials to back this position up.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

1 Comment

  1. Do they still make Our Own tea?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *