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Bicentennial promo gives video a boost.

Like every department, video rental needs a promotional shot in the arm to boost business. And when the promo includes an event that helps the overall store, well, then you have a real winner.

That was pretty much the situation for seven small-town Kentucky supers when they tied in a video-rental promotion with the state's bicentennial. The event was conceived and coordinated by Selectrak Family Video, which supplies the stores' rental tapes on a leased basis and provides management support.

The "High Flying Celebration" was held on the stores' parking lots and included the lofting of balloons. The event drew hundreds of people to each of the stores on a Saturday in late May.

Movie studio giveaway items were distributed to consumers, including many children. The items ranged from posters, frisbees and T-shirts to mugs and keychains. Provided by Paramount Home Video, all the items were imprinted with names and illustrations from popular movies. Extra prizes from in-store drawings were also featured in several of the stores. These included go-carts, $50 gift certificates and free tickets to baseball games and local events. Free popcorn, candy bars, peanuts, soft drinks and birthday cake, some prepared by the stores' own bakeries, satisfied appetites.

The balloons, hundreds of them provided to each store, were the dynamic centerpiece supporting the "high flying" theme. Imprinted with movie names and themes like the promotional giveaways, the balloons were given to children to keep or release into the air. Inside the balloons were rolled-up postcards inviting the finder to return the card to the store and to write in a birthday message about "Happy Bicentennial Kentucky!"

Selectrak's team left no stone untouched. Besides window posters, advertising layouts were provided and publicity written for newspaper articles and radio spots. (A typical commercial concluded with the suggestion that shoppers should "check out" two new Paramount titles.) The Grant County News gave the local Pic Pac four deep paragraphs under the headline: "Pic Pac to celebrate bicentennial."

Some stores put out bag stuffers on their own and arranged coverage of the balloon launching by local radio stations. One station, WNKR, embellished its coverage with a movie trivia contest with prizes for the winners.

The video rental connection came through strongly despite all the events. It centered on reduced-price coupons and rental specials. Most stores offered coupons for rentals of children's titles for 25 cents. Some of the supermarkets cut prices sharply on current releases to 99 cents with coupon.

Video also received heavy play in the stores' special ads with large artwork, arranged through Buena Vista/Touchtone Home Video, that carried photos and copy for current movies with a tagline: Rent It Now. The 22-by-35-inch window posters reproduced movie publicity and photos. What was the promotion's effect on the Kentucky stores' video rental? Excellent, according to the store operators and managers. Dennis Kenner, co-owner of Grant County Pic Pic in Williamstown, says the coupons added 100 rentals over the the weeks prior to the event. Robert Hill, store manager of Salyersville Food Lyon (not related to Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion), reports rentals doubled that Saturday compared to the previous week. Manager Junior Curtis, whose Louisa Sav-More in Louisa tied in an outdoor barbecue, saw his video rental business jump 25 %.

"The whole community participated," says Susan Kenner of Pic Pac. "And we've had balloon messages returned to us from as far away as West Virginia."
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Title Annotation:video sales in grocery store; includes related article
Author:Snyder, Glenn
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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