MALVERN, Pa. -- Forget figure skating as a draw. Acme Markets used free food for a year and three-minute shopping sprees as a 1994 Winter Olympics sales promotion.
To enter the sweepstakes, shoppers filled out coupons available in ads, circulars and at the stores, and deposited them in either of two boxes in the stores. The promotion ran from Jan. 30 until Feb. 26.
Acme broke the promotion with full-page color ads in Sunday newspapers, showing a cartoon-figure shopper skiing down the aisles with an Acme shopping cart loaded with free groceries. The page included two entry coupons, one for each sweepstakes. The ad ran in addition to the chain's usual full-page ad. A section of the chain's weekly circular also explained the promotion.
Ed Spragg, vice president of advertising and special marketing for the American Stores division here, said that this was the first time that Acme celebrated the Olympics with a sweepstakes.
"We thought that the shopping spree is something that would fit right in with the times. It is exciting, and with economic times the way they are, we thought free food through a three-minute shopping spree would really be great," he said.
"We think this makes a nice winter promotion. Everybody is interested in how the U.S.A. does in the Olympics," he added.
The free-food-for-a-year sweepstakes will have one winner chain-wide for each of the four weeks of the promotion. Each prize amounts to $5,200 in Acme gift certificates.
The three-minute shopping spree promotion will have one winner in each of Acme's 250 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and upstate New York. Drawing for the shopping sprees will take place at each store on March 1. Two alternates will also be chosen should the winner decline or not be able to participate in the spree.
Spragg said that to keep the sweepstakes exciting, the winner has to keep moving and will be limited to taking three of any one item.