RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Muzak In-Store Marketing Group here has added 300 more supermarkets to its two-year-old SuperLink in-store advertising and communications network.
The latest signings -- all wholesaler store groups -- bring to 3,200 the total number of chain and independent grocery stores that brand marketers can access through SuperLink, the company said.
The supermarkets that have been added are: SuperValu's Pittsburgh's division (100 stores), Fleming's Phoenix and San Antonio divisions (75 stores) and Associated Wholesale Grocers' Apple and Food-4-Less stores (40 stores), along with about 85 other stores within Muzak IMG's existing store base.
With the downsizing of many companies' sales forces, the ability to take advantage of wholesalers' widespread influence is more critical than ever, said J. Gary Henderson, president of Muzak IMG. Wholesalers can use the system's electronic mail capabilities to convey trade deals to store managers, thus augmenting the manufacturer's sales force.
"We send down a satellite signal into the independent grocers in C and D counties. Even if [the manufacturer] had a fully funded sales force, they're never going to get to these stores in C and D counties," said Henderson.
Launched in 1992, SuperLink Network delivers point-of-purchase audio advertising, along with Muzak's music broadcast, to consumers in retail stores via direct-broadcast satellite. With the latest additions, brand marketers can now reach 60 million shoppers weekly through the system. The system also serves as a communications network, delivering E-mail messaging to each store manager in the network.
This process speeds efficiency for both brand marketers and wholesalers since E-mail is much faster than the traditional postal service. "If they have ad changes on their circulars or if they have product recalls or de-listings or hot deals, they couldn't communicate it to them using truck mail. Now we can put it up on our satellites and it's there instantaneously into all those stores," he said.
Many leading brand marketers -- including Quaker Oats, Procter & Gamble and Frito-Lay -- have used the network, according to Henderson. Hundreds of brands make use of the network weekly. Coca-Cola, Kraft General Foods and Nabisco, among others, have reported product sales jumps as high as 29.8% when they use the network in regional programs.
"The product we're providing the manufacturers is one that not only reaches with an advertising message consumers in C and D counties -- which are hard to reach through traditional media -- but also has a communications system for the manufacturers so that they are able to communicate at the most cost-efficient way possible," he said.