BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Tying-in to Ice Cream Month, Ingles Markets here promoted its ice cream selection with full-page ads that also sprinkled additional sales throughout the frozens department.
In its Atlanta and Asheville, N.C., markets, the chain ran a full-page newspaper ad for half-gallons of ice cream, and another for novelties, in late July and early August, according to J. Thomas Outlaw Jr., vice president and director of frozen food.
Both ads featured various brands. For example, the half-gallon ad, which appeared first, said "Ice Cream for America!" and pictured Sealtest, Borden, Pet, Eskimo Pie, Healthy Choice, Mayfield, Ingles Best, Guilt Free and Haagen-Dazs ice cream plus Crowley frozen yogurt, Laura Lynn sherbet and frozen yogurt, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream and frozen yogurt bars.
"Since [July was] Ice Cream Month, we were just trying to bring attention to the ice cream case, which is so vital to our sales and profits, especially during the summertime," Outlaw said.
Ingles devised the ads. Manufacturers were forthcoming with promotional dollars because the customer response typically is excellent, Outlaw explained.
"I think this is the third year we've done this, and it's been very successful. So I don't have any trouble getting participation," he said, adding that this year's response probably exceeded last year's. Overall frozens traffic gets a boost from the ads, Outlaw noted. "When we do the half-gallon ad, it's during one of our highest frozen-food distribution weeks of the year. It seems to be a very effective
Although Ingles normally doesn't do category-specific ads for frozens, it has done them for brands, according to Outlaw. "We've had manufacturers do separate ads; for example, we've done full-page ads on Healthy Choice."
The success of the ice cream spots might lead to full-page ads focusing on other frozens segments, he said. "I am thinking about expanding it into some other categories -- pies would probably be a natural in the fall -- to bring attention to a category that sells good during a particular season."
No cross-merchandising was done, but the ice cream ads received substantial in-store support. "It was instigated by the idea of Ice Cream Month. So we tied-in to that with Ice Cream Month banners, and we hung a couple of papier-mache ice cream cones down from the ceiling to bring attention to ice cream," Outlaw said.
Point-of-sale materials spotlighted ice cream products as well. "We had signs on all the ice cream products," he explained. "Each stockkeeping unit had a red tag on it, plus on each door each [brand] had a sign.
"Most of our stores have ice cream in the doors. It's usually a 14-door setting, and it can run up to 19 doors, depending on the size of the store," he said.
Ingles did not use end bunkers for the promotion because theirs do not keep the ice cream temperature low enough, Outlaw said. However, the chain plans to use end space to merchandise the category. "In our newer stores, we're going to end displays that do hold ice cream," he noted.