'POCAHONTAS' PROMOTION IS SWEET FOR KROGER CO.

ATLANTA -- Kroger Co.'s division here pulled out all the stops when it participated in an event sponsored by Nestle USA and Walt Disney to promote Disney's smash summer hit "Pocahontas."In the promotion, which ran this month, Kroger used endcap displays of assorted Nestle merchandise coupled with a sweepstakes for a "giant" 3-foot-high stuffed plush Meeko raccoon, valued at $400.In addition to the

ATLANTA -- Kroger Co.'s division here pulled out all the stops when it participated in an event sponsored by Nestle USA and Walt Disney to promote Disney's smash summer hit "Pocahontas."

In the promotion, which ran this month, Kroger used endcap displays of assorted Nestle merchandise coupled with a sweepstakes for a "giant" 3-foot-high stuffed plush Meeko raccoon, valued at $400.

In addition to the in-store displays, Kroger also ran full-page, four-color newspaper ads that announced the sweepstakes and contained an entry form. The ad featured popular Nestle products: Nestle Crunch, Nestea, Friskies dog food, Friskies cat food and Juicy Juice.

Officials at Kroger's regional offices here declined to comment on the promotion, but the campaign has been well-received by shoppers, according to store-level personnel.

"We do have a stuffed Meeko on display and we are getting lots of entries," said one Kroger store associate.

"Our display is in the front of the store on top of our ice cream freezer. Meeko is sitting on a box on top of the display so that someone does not take it. We then have the "Pocahontas" display on the bottom where you put your entry blank. It is right up front in the store," said an associate at another Atlanta Kroger location.

Laurie MacDonald, vice president of corporate affairs at Glendale, Calif.-based Nestle USA, told SN that Nestle is doing similar promotions with retailers across the country.

"The promotion involves in-store displays in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers.

We display all of the products that are participating," she explained. "Consumers can collect UPC symbols from our products and mail them in for discounts on the "Pocahontas" CD soundtrack, cassette soundtrack and a sing-along cassette and lyric book, in addition to the sweepstakes to win the giant plush Meeko raccoon."

MacDonald said it was too soon to provide statistics about the number of stores participating in the summer-long promotion, but "we've had terrific participation" to date.

Among the Nestle brands participating in the event are Hills Bros. and Nescafe coffees, Carnation Coffee-mate, Nestle Quik, Libby's Juicy Juice, Friskies pet foods, Nestle ice cream novelties, Stouffers frozen entrees, Nestle Sweet Success, SweeTarts candy, Spree Candy, David & Sons sunflower seeds and Nestle Chocolate & Confections.

MacDonald said the "Pocahontas" campaign follows last summer's highly successful promotion that centered around "The Lion King."

"We're a strategic partner of Disney in a long-term strategic alliance that involves joint tie-ins with their movie properties, as well as licensing and joint marketing and theme park merchandising where we can sell branded Nestle items at their theme parks," she explained.

Officials at Disney could not be reached for comment, but according to MacDonald, Disney is "really happy" about how the promotion has been received.