MALVERN, Pa. -- Acme Markets here ran a two-week auto supply promotion last month evoking last winter's severe ice storms in full-page ads. The chain reported solid sell-through volume with 14 auto supplies and accessories that it merchandised at in-line sections and at off-shelf locations, according to industry observers. Company officials declined to comment on the ad and promotion. Ad items featured included those that sold out quickly during last year's bad weather, the sources said.
Items, priced from 99 cents to $6.99, included steel snow shovels, de-icers, coolants, leather driving gloves, flashlights, dry gas, starting fluid, ice scrapers and corn brooms. Acme also promoted six quarts of Quaker State Motor oil, 10-30 weight, at $7.56 with an in-ad manufacturer's rebate. The full-page ad, placed in metropolitan newspapers, drew customer attention with an illustration of a snow plow pushing mounds of ice and snow along a highway. Headline copy read, "Oh No! Here we go again." Additional copy asked shoppers if they were "ready to go another round with Mother Nature?" The ad urged shoppers to "defend yourself and your vehicle from the onslaught of winter." While Acme has previously run fall auto supply ads, this was the retailer's biggest push to date, said sources close to the chain. "Acme traditionally runs a smaller auto accessory ad in the fall, but used a larger ad to remind people of the tough times they had with iced roads and frozen windshields last winter," said the source.