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ShopRite kicks Can Can girls ad to the curb

ShopRite’s Can Can dancers may have kicked it for good.

The grocery chain’s 49-year-old “Can Can” advertising blitz, which hawks deep discounts on canned goods at its 300 stores, launched this week without its signature company of Moulin Rouge-style dancing girls.

Instead, the circular in Sunday newspapers features the familiar emcee in a beret, saying “Ooh-la-la!” before a can of Progresso soup.

That’s despite ShopRite’s insistence this summer that the girls — who since 1970 had been heralding deals on food staples while hoisting their petticoats and baring their flying fishnets and garters — would return in January after they first went missing in July.

“From time to time, we refresh the creative for this iconic sale,” said Karen O’Shea, a spokeswoman for corporate parent Wakefern.

She declined to explain why the dancers didn’t make the cut in 2019, and said that “it’s a possibility” that they will be back.

But O’Shea added that ShopRite has nixed the girls from its Can Can campaign “at least several times,” adding that the annual sale event remains a customer favorite.

Wakefern hired a new senior marketing VP in July, Erik Keptner, who likely had a hand in firing the dancers, according to industry insiders. Keptner “may have triggered a strategic review of the campaign,” said David Bishop, partner in Brick Meets Click, a food and retail consulting firm.

In July, Wakefern said the Can Can campaign would return in January. Nevertheless, at the time it had replaced the leggy dancers with dancing ShopRite employees and customers, dubbing the campaign its “Hot, Hot, Hot Summer Sale.”

“What’s changed is the #MeToo movement,” which is discouraging this “bygone era that doesn’t reflect today’s values,” said Bishop.

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