UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- The Nov. 28 release of "Apollo 13" will be supported with a major marketing campaign that, with a tie-in with Tropicana Pure Premium products, will directly target supermarkets, said Andrew Kairey, senior vice president of sales and marketing at MCA/Universal Home Video here. "Tropicana is a category leader in the pure premium juice category," said Kairey. "It will get the premier placement in a supermarket. This is a program that they will get very much behind and work in a very major way, from the kick-off and all the way through '96." Tropicana will offer a $5 mail-in rebate with the purchase of "Apollo 13" and six multi-serve cartons of Tropicana Pure Premium. Support for the cross-promotion will include a national free-standing insert on Dec. 3, television advertising, in-store merchandising media and local marketing programs. This is the first time that Tropicana Dole Beverages North America, Bradenton, Fla., a division of the Seagram Company Ltd., Montreal, has worked with MCA/Universal. Seagram acquired control of the video unit's parent company, MCA, in June. Tropicana and MCA/Universal will aggressively pursue joint sales calls on supermarkets, said Kairey. "Tropicana is a leader in the category and this is one of their first associations with entertainment in terms of a major promotion like this," said Kairey. "Millions of shoppers who buy Tropicana Pure Premium also will be interested in buying 'Apollo 13,' " said Mary Gold, vice president of marketing at Tropicana Dole Beverages. "By offering them a high-value rebate on the video, we'll generate incremental juice and video sales for our retail customers." The late November release date will provide sales opportunities during the holiday gift-buying season, as well as during the Academy Awards excitement in the first quarter, said Kairey. "There is an opportunity to do some interesting marketing for an extended period of time that would maximize sales on this title," he said. "You have a great sell-through title that fills a tremendous void this year vs. last year," he said. "The retailers will find the open-to-buy dollars and they will find the real estate to support it."
Retailers contacted by SN said the title will do very well, but some were critical of the timing of the release and its announcement. "It's unfortunate that they are telling us about this title, which comes out in December, so late in the season," said Dan Black, buyer at Raley's, West Sacramento, Calif. "The stores will have ample quantities, but they won't make a big deal out of it like some of the other ones," he said. "I wish they would have waited until January," said Teri Severinsen, manager of video services at Roundy's, Milwaukee. Roundy's clears out all the old sell-through from the prior year in January, and titles that come out at that time have an advantage, she said.
Hy-Vee Food Stores, West Des Moines, Iowa, had enough notice about the promotion that it was able to schedule a Tropicana ad, said Kirk Mueldener, director of video operations.
Pricing is another issue, though, said Mueldener. " 'Apollo 13' will do great, but I wish they would have come down to a $19.99 retail." A promotional price under $15 "really does move product," he said.
The Boogaart Retail Div. of Fleming Companies/Scrivner Group, Concordia, Kan., will carry the title in as much depth as any other big theatrical title that has come out, said Matt Dillon, video director. "It should be big. We are probably looking at about 100 copies per store," he said. "It's a movie that did very well at the box office and I think it will do very well for sell-through," said Bill Glaseman, video specialist at Bashas' Markets, Phoenix. "It also will help us with rentals." But sell-through titles don't do well as rentals at Goff Food Stores, Haslett, Mich., because "if people are going to get it, they are going to buy it," said Shirley Decker, video buyer. "'Apollo 13' will be great for sell-through, but it will be a loss leader. We will make very little money on it and use it to create excitement in the stores," she said. "Apollo 13" did $165 million at the box office, and it will have a suggested retail price of $22.98, with a minimum advertised price of $14.95. The retail availability date is Nov. 28, the national advertised availability date is Dec. 1, and the order close date is Nov. 6. Industry sources estimate that the title will ship eight to nine million units. Kairey would not discuss the studio's projections for the movie. But he said, "I anticipate that 'Apollo 13' will be one of the top five live-action movies to date," he said. Live-action theatrical hits not specifically for children are increasing in importance for supermarket sell-through, noted industry observers. For example, numbers from A.C. Nielsen, Schaumburg, Ill., showed that "Forrest Gump" had the highest market share in supermarkets of all major titles released to sell-through so far this year. Thirty percent of "Gump" sales went through supermarkets in its first week and a half of release, compared to 25% for "The Lion King" and 23% for "Swan Princess." "Apollo 13" appeals to a wide demographic, with equal interest among men and women, said Kairey. There is additional purchase potential for children buying holiday gifts for their parents, Kairey said. "The movie crosses over all generations," he said. A Spanish subtitled version also will be released, priced at $22.98. "The Hispanic market is important and growing. You don't have huge numbers, but they are significant enough that you don't want to ignore them," he said. There will be a second $10 rebate on a computer software program, the Microsoft Space Simulator. This will be promoted on the new Microsoft Network online service. "For those supermarkets that do carry software, there is some tremendous upside for cross-merchandising," said Kairey.