NEW ORLEANS -- Barq's, the soft drink company based here, is gearing up for a replay of its successful in-pack tattoo promotion this summer.
Rick Hill, Barq's vice president of national marketing, said he anticipates hundreds of "Barqtoo parlors" will begin appearing in the nation's supermarkets when the promotion begins next month. For its Barqtoo II promotion, set to run through August, the company has produced 7 million wet-and-apply skin tattoos in 40 designs. Specially marked 12-packs of Barq's root beer and diet root beer will each contain a temporary tattoo with a $3 retail value.
Barqtoo's "removable body art" will also be available to consumers as a mail-in premium with proof of purchase of two 2-liter bottles or six 20-ounce non-refundable bottles. Each 2-liter bottle of Barq's will also bear a 29-cent coupon on the label. The coupon has no expiration date.
While a 35% sales bump last summer proved that Barqtoos are popular with consumers, the promotion is also formulated to get maximum participation from Barq's bottlers.
"It's a unique value-added in that it is going to get us displays," said Hill, who described incentives built into the program.
Bottlers who send in photos of store displays will receive various whimsical incentives, ranging from a complete set of Barqtoos to a "Chia Bubby," a figurine of a bald Barq's spokesman that grows green "hair." The photos will be entered in a display contest with prizes including Omaha steaks, Ritz Carlton bathrobes and a trip to the Cayman Islands.
"We know a lot of them will do Barqtoo parlors," said Hill, describing how bottlers can build an in-store enclosure of 12-packs. Shoppers can step inside to have a Barqtoo applied and try a sample.
A new wrinkle on this year's "removable body art" is the inclusion of several designs under a licensing agreement with motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. Hill said that Barq's had underestimated the appeal of the original Barqtoo promotion, which ran last summer. It resulted in a volume boost of 35%, while sales velocity of displays increased two-fold. "It gave us very good results in an otherwise slow period for soft drink business," he said, adding, "Our bottlers believed they could have done more with it if they understood its potential."
Hill said he expects Barqtoo II to yield similar benefits -- more displays and a faster merchandise turn. Early response from Barq's bottlers would seem to support his expectations. "Orders have been coming in at a 35% greater rate than last year," he said.