GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- D&W Food Centers here has taken an extra step in supporting the Dove Seal program. The retailer earlier this summer had signs for the seal-of-approval program custom-made to coordinate with its store decor, said Glen Fischer, general merchandise and video buyer. In most stores, one sign is by the video service area and two are over the video section, he said.
"As a supermarket chain in an especially conservative part of the country, we are very family-oriented, so the Dove program works into our program very well," said Fischer. "The only thing that I didn't care for was their POP," or point-of-purchase materials. "Most of our stores are very much into decor and colors, so we just customized the signs to match our decor," he said. "Basically we were communicating the same information.
"We have made our customer's selection of family entertainment videos easier with the Dove Seal. We incorporated the program in such a way as to maintain the high-quality esthetics, appearance and atmosphere that our customers have come to expect from our stores," said Fischer.
Out of D&W's 25 stores, 13 have video rental departments with inventory ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 units. All the rental departments have the Dove Seal program. The Dove-approved products are integrated into the retailer's standard video categories; D&W does not set them apart in their own display, as some retailers do. The nonprofit Dove Foundation, based here in Grand Rapids, gives its seal of approval to movies that meet its criteria for family-oriented content. Retailers can participate in the program for $100 a store per year. The program was launched at the Video Software Dealers Association convention in 1992.
About 210 retailers with over 600 stores now use the Dove Seal program, said Scott Rolfe, Dove's director of corporate services. About 70% of them are supermarkets. "We are actively negotiating with several retailers who are among the top 30 supermarkets in video rental," said Rolfe.
Among the big players known to use or test the program are Meijer, Roundy's, H-E-B, D&W, Glen's Markets, Dillon Food Stores and City Market.
D&W has received "several" favorable comments about the Dove program from customers, said Fischer. He doesn't buy everything that is on the Dove list, "but I pay close attention to titles I know are going to be Dove approved, or already have been Dove approved," he said. D&W and Dove "have a good working relationship, especially since we are located in the same town," he said. "We talk frequently." D&W supplies Dove's movie reviewers with tapes from a store near the Dove headquarters, noted Fischer. The retailer likes the foundation's increasingly aggressive promotional activities and its plans to sponsor a radio program, he said. The radio program involves weekly two- and three-minute spots that feature Dove's managing director, Dick Rolfe, and Kadie Lukens, 8-year-old daughter of Dove's public relations director, Dave Lukens. "Each of these spots is dedicated to reviewing a movie that is available on video," said Rolfe. "We will provide these to our Dove retailers at no charge and place the programs and the advertising with the radio stations of their choice," he said. Dove recommends that retailers surround the program with 30-second spots explaining their sponsorship, he said. Meijer, another Grand Rapids company, sponsors the Dove Family Film Festival. Run in conjunction with a local theater and co-sponsored by McDonald's, one Dove-approved movie is shown in the theater each week for eight weeks, said Rolfe. "Tickets for children 12 and under are free. Dove retailers get their names on the tickets and become a distribution point for the free tickets."
Meijer provides coupons with special offers to get the moviegoers into its video departments. The program last ran in the spring in Grand Rapids and will run again in the fall.