Southern California, a tough but rewarding market for frozen food, won four Gold Penguins, a record. One will go to the Southern California Frozen Food Council, Laguna Hills; the Retail Brokerage award will go to Acosta Sales & Marketing's Diamond Bar division, in Diamond Bar, and to Crossmark Southern California, in Santa Fe Springs; and Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, won for retail chain in the "more-than-50-stores" category.
Retail frozen-food organizations, grouped by membership size into three categories, will take home four Gold Penguin awards this year, and two Silver Penguins.
In Spokane, Wash., Eric Hixson, president of the e-media Inc. advertising agency puts the promotion together every year for the Washington Frozen Food Council, which won a Gold Penguin for the first time. "We are very excited about it," he said.
"We had an entire promotion that consisted of radio, television, consumer prizes, display contests, signage in-store and POS, and live radio remotes in stores, which included Rosauers; Tidyman's; Excell Foods, a regional chain; and Albertson's," Hixson told SN.
A fairly uncommon feature is that the group has used billboards for a long time. The locations are close to the particular stores, so that the consumer driving by would see the billboard and know it was Frozen Food Month. And, the retailers hope, drive right into the store parking lot and stock up on frozen foods.
This group also offered a sweepstakes, four trips to Paradise Island, The Bahamas, for consumers who entered by getting a form in the frozen-food aisle or from the ad. The entire campaign was tied together by the use of Professor Pete Penguin, who appeared in all the ads on a surfboard, wearing a mortarboard. Seattle-Spokane also advertised on the outside of grocery bags and on the inside of egg cartons, through the egg vendor, Hixson said. "We convinced him that frozen breakfast items, like hash browns, go well with eggs."
The results were that both the Spokane and Seattle markets saw strong frozen-food growth in sales that month. "In Seattle, we had a 2.7% increase in unit sales, and in Spokane, 3.1% in units for March 2000, compared with March 1999," Hixson said. "And the dollar sales increases for the two markets were even bigger: Seattle's was 7.9% and Spokane's, 13.5%," Hixson said, citing data from Information Resources Inc., Chicago.
"We had one of the largest increases in the country -- in fact, it looks like the largest," he said.
The idea behind National Frozen Food Month is to expose the consumer to the convenience and the variety of frozen foods, an ever-expanding category in the supermarket.