COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In spite of its R-rating, supermarkets in two Ohio cities heavily merchandised and promoted the direct-to-sell-through release of "Jerry Maguire" May 29.
Stores of two Kroger marketing areas -- in Columbus and Cincinnati -- had large displays of the title and an ample number of copies for rent, often using the large standees featuring the movie's star, Tom Cruise. At $14.99 in both divisions, Kroger's pricing was slightly above the minimum advertised price of $14.95 for this year's Academy Award winning hit, SN found in store visits on the street date and the day after.
Other chains, like Big Bear Stores here and Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich., were at the MAP, while Blockbuster Video departments inside three Big Bear stores were at $14.99 with "Jerry Maguire." The title was released by Columbia TriStar Home Video, Culver City, Calif.
The Cincinnati KMA was particularly aggressive, with bigger shippers and displays, more rental copies and a radio promotion on the street date inviting customers to "Come to Kroger and say, 'Show me the video.' " The radio spots ran on AM station WLW, some during Cincinnati Reds baseball games.
For example, the Kroger Queen City Centre store featured the title on an endcap at the front of the store near one of the two entrances. With 240 pieces of product, it had the Cruise standee on either side and a sign that quoted the well-known line from the movie, "Show me the money." The title was also displayed on an endcap facing customers entering the video-rental department, where 60 copies were on the shelves.
Other Cincinnati Kroger stores visited by SN had from 60 to 320 copies of "Jerry Maguire" for sale and from 40 to 70 copies for rent. It was featured in the weekly circular and also on the cover of the free monthly video magazine supplied by video distributor ETD Entertainment Distributing, Houston.
The difference in the way Kroger divisions handled "Jerry Maguire" was noteworthy. In Columbus, stores visited by SN had from 36 to 60 copies for sale and about 30 copies for rent. However, in one store visited late afternoon on the May 29 street date, a larger shipment of "Jerry Maguire" arrived while SN was in the store. In another store visited late morning that day, signage had yet to be put up. WHOK, a Columbus radio station contacted by SN, said that Kroger would sponsor a promotion offering a Tom Cruise autographed poster giveaway on the weekend of June 9.
At Meijer stores in both markets, the title was featured prominently in the weekly circular, with shippers at the entrance on the general merchandise side of the giant combination stores, and ample product displayed in the main sell-through sales areas. Meijer's emphasis on the R-rated movie, which apparently earned the R-rating because of a brief but intense sex scene, was noteworthy because the retailer is in the process of taking out its video rental departments because of pressure exerted on the chain for carrying R-rated movies. Another retailer that is very sensitive to the content of entertainment products, but brought in "Jerry Maguire" in great numbers, was Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark. One Columbus store visited by SN had about 600 copies of the title in a huge display in the electronics department, with large standees placed in three prominent locations: one at the entrance, another with the product in electronics, and a third facing customers as they left the checkouts to exit the store. Pricing was at MAP, $14.95.
A second Wal-Mart store, located in the same shopping center as a Sam's Club and a Best Buy electronics superstore, priced "Jerry Maguire" at $12.92, the lowest seen in either market visited by SN. That store carried over 700 copies of the title at the main entrance with the two large standees positioned in the electronics department.
Neither Kmart, Troy, Mich., nor Target, Minneapolis, stores visited featured the title prominently, while Best Buy, Minneapolis, and Sun Super Savings Center, Columbus, another electronics superstore, devoted key pieces of in-store real estate to the title, with pricing at MAP.