HY-VEE MEAL AD SCORES WITH BASKETBALL TIE-IN

CHARITON, Iowa -- Hy-Vee here called customers' attention to its fresh meals and prepared foods with a "March Madness Meals" full-color hand-out circulated last month.The front of the hand-out featured a photo of a plate of fried chicken, a basket of rolls and two side dishes, with "March Madness Meals" in large type heading the page. A carton with folding handles in the background had this message

CHARITON, Iowa -- Hy-Vee here called customers' attention to its fresh meals and prepared foods with a "March Madness Meals" full-color hand-out circulated last month.

The front of the hand-out featured a photo of a plate of fried chicken, a basket of rolls and two side dishes, with "March Madness Meals" in large type heading the page. A carton with folding handles in the background had this message on it: "Just Like Home." No price was listed for the chicken meal.

"Menu favorites" were listed at special prices. Sausage gravy over biscuit, 99 cents; spaghetti salad or taco salad, $2.29 a pint; ham or chicken salad sandwich, $1.69 each; cheesecake, 8x8 inches, $2.99. The everyday prices for those items, a store source said, are $1.69, $2.69, $2.29, and $3.49 respectively.

The reverse side of the page targeted basketball play-off watchers with cents-off coupons. Illustrations of basketballs decorated the page. The center of the page read: "Net the savings at the Hy-Vee Home-Style Deli. Our goal is to make Hy-Vee your fresh food arena!!!" Examples of coupons are: Homestyle meatloaf dinner, with two sides, dinner roll and butter, two for $6; chicken pack, eight pieces or larger, half price; fish sandwich, with coleslaw and a 16-ounce Coke, $2.49.

A source at Hy-Vee's Des Moines, Iowa, division said the ad was generated from the corporate office here. It was used as an insert in newspapers and also was distributed to the chain's 162 supermarkets to be used as hand-outs or bag stuffers, she said. A similar effort in January that promoted fried chicken packs at half price on Tuesdays was so successful that some stores have continued the special offer, the source said.