DENVER -- King Soopers here ran a full-page color ad in The Denver Post to promote the guaranteed availability of "Good Will Hunting."
The ad ran on July 14, one week after the July 7 street date of the rental-priced title. Retailers typically run big promotions after the first week of release, when major new releases will rent without the support of advertising, said industry observers.
King Soopers, which is a division of the Kroger Co., Cincinnati, has video rental departments in each of its 78 stores. Local observers counted between 10 and 70 copies of "Good Will Hunting" in the stores.
Industry observers noted many aggressive supermarket chains are stepping up their marketing efforts in response to competitive changes in the marketplace, such as copy-depth expansion by the big specialty stores.
King Soopers acquired the title from shared-transaction-fee distributor Rentrak Corp., Portland, Ore., according to a source at Rentrak. An executive at King Soopers did not return a call for comment.
"At King Soopers, they think about nothing but the customer -- customer satisfaction and making people happy. They have always been that way," said the Rentrak source. "The customer comes first and their job is to make money and grow by satisfying customers."
"Good Will Hunting" was a critically acclaimed movie starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon that made $130 million at the box office. "It's a great movie. It's something that everybody wants to rent. It's out at a good time of the year. It's a marvelous marketing opportunity," said the source.
"With Rentrak they were able to bring in enough copies so they can take a very aggressive approach to marketing that movie and their departments to the consumers. That's the message: 'We have this movie. It's guaranteed to be here. We know you want it. Come to King Soopers. We want a happy customer.' That's what it is all about," said the source.
The ad copy read, "'Good Will Hunting' guaranteed to be in, or free 99-cent video!" The ad also mentioned the movie's nine Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture, and noted four other movies were guaranteed to be in stock: "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Home Alone 3," "Scream 2" and "Wag the Dog." Rental rates at King Soopers were mentioned at the bottom of the ad: $2.99 for new releases and 99 cents for a five-day rental of catalog videos.