ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Using the Catalina Checkout Coupon system, Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif., will begin giving consumers discounts based on purchases of competitive studios' titles later this month, said a Warner executive during the East Coast Video Show held here earlier this month.
Warner is expanding its use of the point-of-sale coupon dispensing system from Catalina Marketing Corp., St. Petersburg, Fla., beyond its previously announced cross-promotion that links the title "Twister" and Tropicana Twister juice drinks, said Gail Pawlak, national accounts sales manager. Pawlak spoke at a supermarket video seminar chaired by Supermarket News during the video show.
"We feel that we've found something that is pretty much foolproof at store level," said Pawlak. "It gets people coming back for repeat purchases and it is something that we can duplicate at individual chains if they are not part of the Catalina program."
Warner will probably continue using Catalina in 1997 and do more promotions with it tailored to individual chains, she said.
"One of the advantages of a national promotion like this is each retailer can get as involved as it would like," noted Bill Bryant, vice president of sales, grocery and drug at Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn. "If they don't want to do anything, they still have coupons that are printing up at the point-of-sale that will generate sales for the tie-in product, as well as the video. If the retailer wants to do a display in the Tropicana section of the store, they can do that. It's very flexible in how far you can take it."
The new promotions will start Oct. 28 as Warner offers a $2 coupon good on the purchase of its videos, "Twister" or "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," to consumers buying "Toy Story," a Disney title, which is due for release Oct. 29.
Then, starting Nov. 12, the Catalina units will dispense $2 coupons -- which can be used for purchases of five Warner and MGM/UA titles -- to consumers buying Paramount's "Mission Impossible," FoxVideo's "Independence Day" or MCA/Universal's "The Nutty Professor."
The five titles are "Grumpier Old Men," "Heat," "Get Shorty," "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Goldeneye."
"This is a great opportunity for us and it doesn't take anything away from our competitors. It just enhances video sales at the grocery outlets," said Pawlak.
Warner had first used the Catalina tie-in with Tropicana to build anticipation for the video release of "Twister" by offering a 50-cents-off coupon on the drinks along with a promotional tag for the movie.
Last month, the promotion shifted to offering "Twister Bucks" with the purchase of three 46-ounce bottles of Tropicana Twister. Customers could accumulate 18 of the $1 coupons that could be applied to the video. In many cases, the cost of the tape could be netted down to zero from its suggested retail price of $22.96.
Based on enthusiastic retailer and consumer response, Warner decided to extend the promotion to the other video titles. "We got phenomenal response to it," said Pawlak.
"It encouraged the consumer to: one, buy more Tropicana Twister; two, buy that Tropicana Twister from a particular retailer, and three, come back to that retailer for a copy of 'Twister.' "
Warner was initially drawn to the Catalina system because "we needed to come up with an avenue that we could take to your stores, your customers and target market video," she said.
Overall supermarket sales volume is 50% higher than the mass merchant channel of distribution, she noted. "You have a lot of store fronts that represent a lot of traffic to us. So providing a program that would entice you into bringing our product in and keeping it merchandised for the fourth quarter was a major objective for us. I think we found it with Catalina," said Pawlak.
As in previous cross-promotions, Warner is running a display-building contest, she noted. "We've had some tremendous response at store level because we started early, we started at the top, word filtered down to the stores, and we were able to do something with the prizes that we gave away," she said.
Past tie-in partners, such as Lever, would send in their own personnel to help build the displays. "So for very little investment on the part of the store, they got great-looking displays, and we got multiple placement for our product. The stores had much better sell-off than they normally would have. They had multiple register rings and everybody walked away happy," she said.
"But the key was starting early and getting the word out to every possible person that would be included in this," said Pawlak.
Ed Sam, national sales director for the Movie Exchange, Oaks, Pa., said stores could build further on these promotions, for example, by conducting taste tests for the Tropicana Twister product. "There are so many different opportunities that these promotions present. With a little bit of imagination, you can add to the sales and add to the excitement of your stores. This brings the customers back into your stores," said Sam.
While consumer rebates on sell-through videos help focus the promotions for retailers, they are not necessary, noted Sam. For example, retailers could build a cross-promotion around the soft drink that was featured in "Independence Day," he said. "Independence Day" has no tie-in partners.