PRICE CHOPPER WOLFPAK SCORES GOAL IN HMR FIELD

KANSAS CITY, KAN. -- Price Chopper stores in the Kansas City area are pinning the autumn promotion of their expanded meals program on the power of the Kansas City Chiefs football team.Tied to the Chiefs with heavy radio, TV, in-store and circular advertising, the "Hungry Like a Wolf" campaign introduces the stores' large sized "Wolfpak Feasts," and also features the single-serve "Wolfpak Value Meals."The

KANSAS CITY, KAN. -- Price Chopper stores in the Kansas City area are pinning the autumn promotion of their expanded meals program on the power of the Kansas City Chiefs football team.

Tied to the Chiefs with heavy radio, TV, in-store and circular advertising, the "Hungry Like a Wolf" campaign introduces the stores' large sized "Wolfpak Feasts," and also features the single-serve "Wolfpak Value Meals."

The Wolfpak Feast is new for the Price Chopper store group. "We tested the Feast concept this spring with a deli and bakery Grad Pack program, and we were pleased with the consumer acceptance," said Larry Lombardo, deli director for Associated Wholesale Grocers, here, the wholesaler that supplies independent Price Chopper operators.

"With tailgating, football parties and holiday entertaining becoming a growing part of our business, we think the Feasts will be a natural addition to our home-meal replacement program," Lombardo told SN.

The TV and radio ads feature Chiefs mascot KC Wolf stealing Wolfpak Feasts from team owner Lamar Hunt's game-time party at Arrowhead Stadium. The wolf then shares the meals with Mama Wolf and a pack of wolf cubs.

In other ads, he swipes single-serve Value Meals from Hunt, head coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager Carl Peterson. The ads first appeared during the Chiefs preseason games in August, with a new commercial added around opening day.

While supermarket advertising is generally skewed toward women, Price Chopper's ads target football fans, generally males.

"Today's grocery shopper is changing and so is the football fan," said Price Chopper's marketing manager for sales Larry Culleton.

"While women are still our primary target, the number of male shoppers has grown steadily over the last few years because of the growing number of singles as well as households where both parents are working," he said.

The commercials and the campaign built on previous promotions, which tied the 31 independently-operated stores in Missouri and Kansas to the Chiefs.

Initially, the advertising campaign promoted only Chiefs apparel and tailgate party foods. About four years ago, Price Chopper altered the strategy, to promote the store group's image through its association with the Chiefs.

The next commercials trumpeted their relationship with the Chiefs -- and, implicitly, the quality of their food -- by focusing on Price Chopper's meal preparation at the team's Arrowhead Stadium training table.

Schottenheimer was previously featured in a meat ad, in which he gave a locker-room pep talk to Price Chopper meat directors about their 1/8-inch meat-trim policy. The commercial ran for two months only during Chief games, but research conducted after the series ran showed that women interviewed about Price Choppers meat-trim policy knew of it through the ads featuring Schottenheimer.

Players Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas have also appeared in ads in the past that focused on meat and produce.

The "Wolfpak Feasts," 10 prepackaged meals that cost from $49.99 to $149.99 and serve from six to 24 adults, are a mix of ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat and ready-to-cook components.

The mix of ingredients as well as the ad campaign are targeted at the tailgating football fan. Price Chopper uses KC Wolf extensively in the ads and throughout the stores, in life-size cutouts, danglers, stickers, refrigerator magnets, circulars and fliers.

Entrees for six of the meals include such ready-to-eat components as fried chicken, barbecued ribs, barbecue beef brisket and sandwiches. Four of the meals feature such ready-to-cook meats as ground chuck patties and brats, bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin steaks, Kansas City strip steaks and Porterhouse steaks.

Sides include potato salad, baked beans, onion dip, pasta salad, fiesta platter, twice-baked potatoes, garlic bread and tossed green salads. The meals also include rolls, potato chips, corn chips, napkins, plastic cutlery, condiments, cups, a styrofoam cooler, soda, ice and cakes.

The Wolfpak feasts are seasonal extensions of the company's Wolfpak Value meals, six meals consisting of fried chicken, barbecued ribs, or sandwiches served with two sides, a roll and beverage, priced at $3.99 or $4.99.

There are also two "Kid's Cubpak Meals," which offer fried chicken or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side dish and a soda.