Beaufort girl, 3, featured in statewide Piggly Wiggly campaign

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 12, 2012 

Zoe and Casey Parker of Beaufort play a game when they see the new Piggly Wiggly advertising signs of a smiling blonde girl with big bows in her hair.

"Who's that pretty girl, Momma?" Zoe asks

"Well, that's you up there!" Casey tells her 3-year-old.

Casey and her husband, Jason, gave permission for a Piggly Wiggly camera crew to take photos of their daughter playing in February in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

They never thought their little girl's picture would end up on billboards and signs around the state as part of the grocery chain's new "Local Since Forever" marketing campaign.

Zoe's parents were chasing her around on the grass when a director shooting advertising material approached them.

"They said, 'We love what you're doing. Do you mind if we take some photos?'" Casey said. "It was just by fate that we happened to be there."

The Parkers signed a waiver, the camera crew snapped a few shots, and the family went home and didn't think anything of it until a few weeks ago, when Casey received a phone call.

"I never expected this to be as big and large as it has been," she said. "It was definitely a shock when (the Piggly Wiggly employee) said, 'We're going to put it on the billboard -- we're going to do this, we're going to do that.' "

"Local Since Forever" is replacing the "Feeds Your Life" slogan and campaign used since 2006 by Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. Inc., which operates about 100 stores across South Carolina and coastal Georgia.

Five of those stores, with a combined 400 employees, are in Beaufort County, according to spokeswoman Erica Harris. However, Zoe's billboards are across the state, and Casey said they've received calls from friends in Charleston who saw her little girl grinning down from the side of the road.

The company is employee-owned, and the new advertising features employees and residents of areas with Piggly Wiggly stores. A two-minute TV clip includes images of Beaufort's Waterfront Park and the store at 1900 Boundary St., where the Parkers shop. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. was recently named the 2012 Independent Retailer of the Year by Progressive Grocer magazine.

As for Zoe, her parents aren't planning on using the non-paying advertising campaign to launch a modeling career. Casey says her little girl is busy learning her ABCs and practicing her fishing while wearing a tutu and tiara.

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