The agency won the account following a four-way pitch against Zenith Media, BBJ and Bates UK. Bates UK was pitching to retain the planning side of the business, while Zenith previously held the buying account.
Manning Gottlieb will work alongside Clemmow Hornby Inge, which was appointed as Safeway's creative agency last month. Both reviews were conducted by the AAR.
The brief for Manning Gottlieb is to work on Safeway's media strategy to support Safeway's tactical work on launching new and revamped stores.
Safeway has denied reports that it is planning a return to national television advertising.
Last year, Safeway spent £3 million on advertising. At one point it spent £35 million on UK advertising but last ran national TV campaigns in 1999 - the "talking toddlers campaign through Bates UK. Safeway's advertising spend has recently been focused on press, radio and outdoor activity.
Bates' below-the-line division, 141, handles its promotional work.
Karen Bray, the marketing director at Safeway, said: "This was a close pitch, with an extremely high standard from all agencies. We will be very sad to say goodbye to the Bates planning team after a long and successful working relationship."
"We are delighted to be working with Manning Gottlieb and were impressed by their approach and understanding of the challenges that we face, their energy and creative ideas. We also believe they will work well with Clemmow Hornby Inge, Bray added.