ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- A Kroger customer here drove home happy after being declared the winner of a brand new, plum-colored Volkswagen Beetle -- the grand prize in Sunsweet Growers' "Plum Crazy for Prunes" contest.
tailers hailing from 20 market areas participated in the drawing, among them a Kroger unit in Houston; a unit of Winn-Dixie Stores in Charlotte, N.C.; a unit of Sedano's in Miami, and a unit of H.E. Butt Grocery Co. in San Antonio. Kroger is based in Cincinnati; Winn-Dixie, in Jacksonville, Fla., and Sedano's, in Hialeah, Fla.
The Beetle visited each location during a 15-day promotional road trip that allowed customers to view the prize car, atop a semi-truck, and enter the drawing to win it. Customers could also enter a separate drawing for $200 in gift certificates, redeemable at the store where they registered, and samples of the product.
Radio segments were broadcast from supermarkets' parking lots to draw customers to the stores for the promotion. National radio and television spots reinforced the promotional drawing, too.
"It was an opportunity to show off the car and to drive consumers in participating retailers," said Howard Nager, vice president of marketing for Sunsweet.
The program was kicked off with a freestanding insert promotion in newspapers nationwide that reached an estimated 40 million consumers. The insert explained the details of the contest and featured a picture of the VW Beetle, along with a 35-cents-off coupon that doubled as a point-of-purchase ballot.
The promotion's targeted audience was female baby boomers, 35 to 54. According to Nager, the promotion covered market areas in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and other large cities.
"Most retailers in those cities participated," he said. "It was more the exception that a retailer did not participate."
In-store promotions included display shippers containing 300 one-ounce trial-size packs of Sunsweet Lemon and Orange Essence Prunes. Attached to the bags were coupons for 35 cents off a regular-size bag. These coupons also acted as entry forms for the VW bug drawing, automatically entering the consumer into the contest at the point of purchase. Entry form pads also were attached to the display.