SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Harps Food Stores here plans to run more promotions this year like its award-winning Campbell's Labels for Education program.
That promotion, which has won the Creative Choice Award for Best Department Merchandising Event in the grocery category, reflects Harps' philosophy of putting something back into the community.
Peter Jost, head grocery buyer at the chain, said one possible candidate for entry in the 1997 Creative Choice Awards might be a tie-in with Post cereal's 100th anniversary celebration, in which the manufacturer is donating a portion of its profits to Second Harvest, a nationwide network of food banks.
Last year Harps promoted the Labels for Education campaign with several store-made themed displays: for example, a schoolhouse and an interactive playground, both constructed with Campbell's products. Desks where children could sit were set up in the playground area.
Jost said he hopes the success of last year's promotion will inspire more store managers to participate and build displays this year.
This is the first year of the Creative Choice Awards. Previously they were known as the Admark awards and were announced during the annual April marketing conference of Food Distributors International, Falls Church, Va. This year, however, the FDI teamed up with the National Grocers' Association, Reston, Va. The newly named awards were given at the NGA convention held last month in Houston.
Judges commended the Harps display because it involved shoppers with children, was interactive and played into Campbell's own commitment to education, said Richard George, a speaker at the ceremony. George is a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia.
Other retailers touting Center Store categories also received accolades for their merchandising and advertising excellence.
Taking home the Best Department Merchandising Event award for the frozens category was Perlmart Shop Rite, Lanoka Harbor, N.J. The store benefited from penguin-themed displays in aisles throughout the store -- frozens and nonfrozens.
Brown & Cole Stores won the Best Nonfood Department Merchandising Event award, for displays that incorporated some Center Store items.
George said Brown & Cole stores carried out a back-to-school theme with great clarity and simplicity. "There was no question of what the promotion was all about -- little school buses, school houses and other school merchandising displays," he added.
In-store displays not only featured traditional school supplies, but also snack bags from Frito-Lay and Sunny Delight orange drink. Near the front of the store, different kinds of candy spilled around a cardboard school bus.
Musselman fruit juices, pie filling and applesauce flowing from a pirate ship helped a Price Chopper store in Russelville, Ark., take home the Best Single Manufacturer Merchandising Event award.
The independent used shippers of products to build a pirate ship, complete with flags, cannons, anchors and striped raccoons at the helm.