FRED MEYER TIES DIAMONDS, BANANAS

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer Inc. here cross-merchandised bananas with a giveaway of diamond earrings for Mother's Day.The chain, which has jewelry departments in its huge combination stores, ran the promotion in partnership with Chiquita Brands North America, based in Cincinnati.An official from Chiquita said the promotion was so successful that it will be repeated for Father's Day. The two companies

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fred Meyer Inc. here cross-merchandised bananas with a giveaway of diamond earrings for Mother's Day.

The chain, which has jewelry departments in its huge combination stores, ran the promotion in partnership with Chiquita Brands North America, based in Cincinnati.

An official from Chiquita said the promotion was so successful that it will be repeated for Father's Day. The two companies have been working on the joint holiday program for four years. This year, they gave away eight pairs of diamond earrings, one in each Fred Meyer division.

A Chiquita spokeswoman, Jill Gartenberg, would not disclose banana volume for the promotion. Fred Meyer officials could not be reached for comment.

The promotion lasted one week, and was held three weeks prior to Mother's Day, Gartenberg said.

The chain put entry blanks for the giveaway in produce departments, built "huge" banana displays and put bananas on ad for 28 cents per pound, she said.

It ran radio spots, a full-page ad in the chain's weekly Sunday insert and a partial ad that appeared later in the week.

"Win carats, go bananas!" announced one full-page ad that appeared in a Seattle-area newspaper.

Chiquita sent costumed brand spokeswoman Miss Chiquita into the departments, to give away costume jewelry and drum up excitement.

The partners have scheduled a Father's Day joint promotion for the first time this June. Instead of diamond earrings, men's watches will be offered, she said.