RADIO ADS TO TOUT SMITTY'S PHOTO SERVICES

PHOENIX -- An upcoming radio advertising campaign here will promote Smitty's Supervalu's photo centers, especially its one-hour minilabs, according to an advertising agency handling the spots.One-minute ads will be carried on local AM and FM radio stations in July and August, and also in November and December, according to Pete Northway, president, The Northway Group, a Dallas-based ad agency handling

PHOENIX -- An upcoming radio advertising campaign here will promote Smitty's Supervalu's photo centers, especially its one-hour minilabs, according to an advertising agency handling the spots.

One-minute ads will be carried on local AM and FM radio stations in July and August, and also in November and December, according to Pete Northway, president, The Northway Group, a Dallas-based ad agency handling the radio ads for Qualex, the chain's photo supplier. Qualex is funding the campaign.

Rodney Boshard, Smitty's director of general merchandise, said Smitty's doesn't have plans for a broadcast advertising campaign. However, a Qualex source, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed to SN that the radio spots would be aired.

According to Northway, this will be the second year Smitty's photo processing services will be the subject of radio spots. This year's ads will give special attention to Smitty's 24 one-hour minilabs, according to Northway.

"They will stress that 24 of Smitty's 28 stores have a photo minilab, which is more than other retailers in this area have," added a local observer. According to the observer, a large portion of Smitty's photo processing business comes from one-hour developing, though he did not know how much.

Northway said the chain's Qualex co-op ad funds will underwrite the radio ads, which the observer said Smitty's will use to keep interest in photo finishing services and film products in the summer and in the fall. Last year's radio campaign helped increase the number of one-hour rolls processed, according to observer. The observer did not know how many more rolls are being processed as a result of the spots.

This year's campaign is the latest effort Smitty's has taken to promote its photo processing services. The chain also has focused attention on the category with higher in-ad newspaper coupons, said the observer. In April, Smitty's raised the value of in-ad coupons for overnight processing from $2 to $3, a move based on the positive impact a similar coupon had on overnight developing volume last Christmas and New Year's. "The $3 coupon has been very successful for Smitty's, and it substantially increases the number of rolls processed," said Boshard of Smitty's. Until now, Smitty's had been using $2 coupons for overnight developing and $3 coupons for one-hour developing.

Meanwhile, Smitty's is enlarging its photo centers 40% as part of an ongoing store-wide refurbishment. The photo centers, which are located near Smitty's party supply centers and entertainment areas, will be expanded to about 50 and 60 square feet. It is hoped that the larger size photo departments will "create a bigger impact, build more awareness of that area of the store and project more of a professional image as a photo center," added the vendor.