JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores here is revving up sales of Chek private-label cola by featuring NASCAR driver Mark Martin on its cans and bottles.
To celebrate the 1997 National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing circuit, which began Feb. 15 and runs several months, Winn-Dixie has issued a new Mark Martin collectible can. Mickey Clerc, Winn-Dixie's director of advertising, told SN it is the fourth year Martin's likeness has appeared on the package.
"We sponsor a Grand National Car in 14 races for part of the season within our operating area, and Mark is the driver. We are calling attention to that fact," Clerc said, noting that slight changes are made to the cans each year to improve their collectibility.
"We advertise Chek all the time, but certainly when the season breaks we will step up advertising," he added.
The Mark Martin promotion was speeding along when SN visited a Winn-Dixie store on the Miami/Coral Gables, Fla., border in late January. A large wall display of six-packs priced 98 cents each greeted shoppers as they entered the store. Separate massive endcap displays of 12-pack and 24-pack cases were at the heads of two aisles, and Martin's picture even graced the floor tiles at the head of the soft drink aisle.
This Winn-Dixie unit compared its Chek cola against Coca-Cola with signs on the displays noting that the 12-pack was $1.98, compared with $2.98 for Coke, and that a 24-pack was only $3.98, a $1 savings off Coke's price. Two-liter bottles of Chek regular and diet, which also feature Martin's picture, were merchandised for 68 cents each, while single 12-ounce cans were 17 cents.
Winn-Dixie manufactures the Chek line out of its Deep South Products facility in Fitzgerald, Ga. Clerc said Winn-Dixie chose not to put Martin's likeness on its flavored Chek products, such as orange and grape, because those cans are merchandised by color to make it easy for shoppers to identify.
"The cola is our big item," Clerc said. "The can has a red background that lends itself to Martin's image nicely."