Supermarkets are using a variety of methods to aggressively merchandise Walt Disney's "Aladdin and the King of Thieves."
Retailers' promotional efforts, coupled with the $70 million in marketing clout that Buena Vista Home Video, Burbank, Calif., is putting behind the direct-to-video release, has resulted in brisk sales at grocery stores.
Bashas' Chandler, Ariz., is promoting the third title in the Aladdin series with a chainwide display contest and a cross-merchandising promotion with several manufacturers, according to Bill Glaseman, video specialist.
" 'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' is doing well. It is doing better on sell-through, but we still carry rental copies. Even though we figure there are going to be a lot sold, we also know that they do rent," he said.
Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass., is running ads in circulars and has added extra store signs to call attention to the release. The chain is merchandising the title from floor stands placed in all its stores.
Other Disney titles have been added to Aladdin displays at Harps Food Stores, Springdale, Ark.
"We are selling a pretty good assortment of supplementary titles with it. We bought the assorted packs for all of our stores so that we can take advantage of Disney's rebates on additional tape purchases," said Randy Weddington, video specialist.
Martin's Super Markets, South Bend, Ind., has painted some store windows with an Aladdin motif. "A couple of our stores have some very interesting signs, and a few have paintings in their windows of Aladdin," reported Tammy DeCloedt, video supervisor.
Carr Gottstein Foods, Anchorage, Alaska, is selling "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" using prepack displayers that are placed around the video departments and in the central part of the stores, too.
"Aladdin is doing extremely well. We had to go back and buy more," said Gary Schloss, vice president of general merchandise.
"The name 'Aladdin' carried on so much from the movie itself that it just became another blockbuster sell-through," he added.
"We sold through half of what we bought during the first week," said Jan Winn, director of general merchandise and health and beauty care at Big Y Foods.
Robin Carey, video merchandiser at Gaylord, Mich.-based Glen's Markets, noted, "We did put 'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' in our ad the first week it was released. I did have a couple stores call and reorder because they were sold out."
Initially, 'Aladdin' is doing very well for us. Any Disney product usually does," Harps' Weddington said. "The merchandising campaign behind 'Aladdin' is strong. The TV buy must be enormous. I see the commercials all of the time."
Buena Vista launched "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" on Aug. 13. The animated film, which features the voice of comedian Robin Williams as the Genie, is retailing for $24.99. As part of the marketing campaign, Buena Vista is offering a $5.00 mail-in rebate with the purchase of "The Return of Jafar," "Goofy" and "The Brave Little Toaster," or one eligible Masterpiece Collection or Family Film Collection title.
Buena Vista has also teamed with General Mills to offer a $5.00 rebate with the purchase of selected cereals, and scenes from "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" are prominently featured on the boxes of several brands. In addition, McDonald's is offering "Aladdin" characters in its Happy Meals program for a four-week period.
Michelle Abraham, executive director of public relations at Buena Vista, said "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" has been meeting expectations.
"We are extremely pleased with its performance. We are doing very well," she said.
While the lack of a theatrical release has been a sales hindrance for some direct-to-video releases, retailers told SN the promotion of Robin Williams as the starring voice in the animated feature, along with heavy advertising, is helping boost sales.
"With direct-to-video, generally the hype isn't there, but we'll sell some 'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' because the original 'Aladdin' did so well," said Shirley Decker, video buyer at Goff Food Stores, Haslett, Mich.