RAGOLD CALLING TRADE WITH PHONE CARD OFFER

CHICAGO -- Ragold here is playing off the current fad in phone card collecting in an end-of-year trade promotion for its new Absolute Fruit line of adult-oriented gummi candy.The confection company is distributing a limited edition of 1,000 prepaid phone cards to retail buyers through its brokered sales force, who are empowered to use them as incentives or rewards.The cards, which have a face value

CHICAGO -- Ragold here is playing off the current fad in phone card collecting in an end-of-year trade promotion for its new Absolute Fruit line of adult-oriented gummi candy.

The confection company is distributing a limited edition of 1,000 prepaid phone cards to retail buyers through its brokered sales force, who are empowered to use them as incentives or rewards.

The cards, which have a face value of $5, or up to 15 minutes of long-distance calling, are decorated with Absolute Fruit package graphics. The words "Collectors Edition 1994" also appear on the front of the card.

"We are always looking for promotions that will leverage us and make us look progressive," said Ken Martin, assistant marketing manager at Ragold.

Martin said that the recent surge of interest in phone cards among collectors may lend the Absolute Fruit series some added perceived value.

This is the third phone card series for Ragold. In July, the company introduced cards for its Velamints and Juicefuls lines of roll candies. "Impact among buyers has been super," Martin said.

Ragold also announced separately a trade promotion on its Velamints and Juicefuls roll candies. From Jan. 1 through March 31, 1995, both products will be offered in a special combination case that includes four straight stock rollpacks for the price of three.

At a suggested retail price of 50 cents per pack, retailers can earn an additional $12 in profit on each special case, based on the free 24-count box, the company said.

This is the first time Ragold has combined more than one brand in such a promotional package.

For 1995, the company said it will support its Juicefuls hard candy line with couponing and sampling programs, special shipper displays and trade deals, as well as national advertising.