SALT LAKE CITY -- Smith's Guy, a character logo created for Smith's Food & Drug Centers here, has come alive in Disney-like fashion to promote the chain and its greeting card section.
The character first began to appear on Smith's card department signs and ads several years ago. But a few months ago the Smith's Guy evolved into a live, walk-around, costumed character who makes store appearances. The chain plans to use the walk-around costumed character to create events within the card department and to stimulate shopper interest at stores where card sales are sluggish. Although Smith's declined to comment on the use of the character, Fred Copping, national account executive for Ambassador Cards, said of the concept, "It started out pretty small as a nondescript character in card department signs to add an element of interest to sterile signs with a lot of prices and numbers. From that small beginning the character grew and started gaining personality and friends." The Smith's Guy has acquired a pet dog, Browser, who also is appearing in print ads. In spite of the character's humble beginnings, the Smith's Guy "has grown into a 3-foot by 3-foot sign at the start of Smith's greeting card center at all stores.
"The sign helps capture consumer attention, gets them thinking of each season and turns shoppers down the card aisle," added Copping. The character also is featured in Smith's newspaper ads and outdoor billboards.
"It's really tough to say whether the Smith's Guy sells cards. What we're trying to do is create an image that consumers link in their minds and associate with Smith's and cards," said Copping. He added that the approach is meant to be "lighthearted and fun for the consumer." The character logo also will begin to appear on new protective plastic card bags the retailer will hang in the card department for the first time. These bags will be available for buyers to protect their cards as they shop the store before checking out. The Smith's Guy costume was made by the same manufacturer who makes costumes for DisneyWorld.