MALVERN, Pa. -- While some supermarket chains were still tweaking their party tray programs in preparation for the holiday season, Acme Markets here started delivering its message about trays early.
Colorful, full-page ads in the Philadelphia Inquirer in October called attention to the chain's party tray capabilities. One ad showed meat and cheese platters, sub sandwiches and relish trays in front of a TV screen, which showed a football game under way. The headline said, "Hey, has anyone seen the remote?" A blurb said, "Wouldn't it be nice if the remote was all you had to worry about on game day? Call us and it will be." A toll-free telephone number was listed.
At the bottom of the page, a meat and cheese tray was described and tagged, "$29.99 with coupon." A sandwich platter and an international cheese snack platter, each $24.99 with a coupon, were also featured.
In another ad, just a week later, a meat and cheese tray and the international cheese snack tray were again featured at special prices. The headline read, "Don't Go Batty! Make your Halloween party easy with Acme's corner deli department."
Acme officials could not be reached for comment, but an industry marketing source familiar with the chain said the ads were meant to get consumers thinking early about Acme as a source to help with holiday parties.
"There's no doubt these are image ads to plant the seed, to instill the idea that if there's going to be a party, Acme has what's needed," he said. The source added that the chain has run such ads at least twice as many times this fall as in previous years. Acme also scheduled seven full-page deli and bakery ads to run in the Philadelphia Inquirer during November and December.