SAFEWAY BRANDS GET 'INCREDIBLE' BOOST

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- On-pack movie tie-ins are nothing new for national Center Store brands. Yet Safeway is shining the silver-screen spotlight on its private label.The chain is promoting about 10 private-label products with a ground-breaking consumer sweepstakes tied to "The Incredibles," a Disney-Pixar animated adventure to be released in movie theaters on Nov. 5. Participating products include

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- On-pack movie tie-ins are nothing new for national Center Store brands. Yet Safeway is shining the silver-screen spotlight on its private label.

The chain is promoting about 10 private-label products with a ground-breaking consumer sweepstakes tied to "The Incredibles," a Disney-Pixar animated adventure to be released in movie theaters on Nov. 5. Participating products include Lucerne half-gallon ice cream, Safeway Select Verdi frozen pizza, Safeway Select 2-liter soda, and Safeway 10-pack aseptic juice -- all of them kiddy favorites. In what's being called an industry first for Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, Calif., the sweepstakes is plugged on packages of several featured products, including the soda, pizza and ice cream.

"This promotion is a breakthrough for us," Brian Cornell, Safeway's chief marketing officer and executive vice president, told SN. "It elevates our corporate brands to national-brand status."

Customers who purchase eligible products through Dec. 21 with their loyalty card are automatically entered for a chance to win one of 10 grand prizes: a bedroom makeover by a Pixar artist. The artist will create an "Incredibles"-themed bedroom, including furniture, a lamp, rug, window coverings, bedding and artwork. An additional 20 first-prize winners will get signed movie art.

Called "The Incredible Room Makeover," the sweepstakes is running in Safeway's U.S. and Canadian stores. Participating divisions include Dominick's, Genuardi's, Randalls and Tom Thumb.

Cornell said the campaign is an important step forward for Safeway's corporate brands because it puts them on a level promotional playing field with the big-name packaged goods companies.

"This is the type of promotion that you would expect from a national brand," Cornell said.

While common for national brands, movie promotions of this magnitude are rare for supermarkets in terms of private labels, said Tom Stephens, founder, Brand Strategy Consultants, Ontario, Canada, a consulting firm focused on private label. Stephens said the Safeway sweepstakes has the potential of being an outstanding promotion because it ties in with both a mega brand -- Disney-Pixar -- and the makeover trend that's sweeping television.

"This could be a huge win for Safeway," Stephens told SN. "It's a different type of prize that makes a lot of sense and is very attractive."

More retailers need to follow in Safeway's footsteps if they want to see private-label penetration grow faster than it has, according to Stephens. While many supermarkets have made significant advancements in private-label sourcing, few have focused enough attention on the marketing side of the business, he said.

"Private label won't sell by just sitting on the shelves," he said.

Walt Disney Studios has partnered with supermarkets in other ways, such as with movie-ticket offers at Kroger. Yet this is the first time a Disney movie has been promoted on a private-label package, according to Cherise McVicar, senior vice president, national promotions, Buena Vista Pictures Marketing, Burbank, Calif., Disney's marketing arm.

McVicar said the partnership is the "perfect symbiotic relationship" because the supermarket is a place where Disney consumers go regularly. It also demonstrates the promotional creativity at Safeway, which conceived the idea for the room makeover and on-pack promotion, McVicar said.

"It shows that Safeway embraces the value of entertainment," she said.

Along with on-pack advertising, Safeway is publicizing the sweepstakes in other ways, including on radio, on division Web sites, in print and in stores, with product demonstrations and coupons. Division Web sites also feature links for consumers to download "Incredibles"-themed coloring sheets and view the movie's trailer.

Radio Disney, meanwhile, is plugging the sweepstakes on air and is holding in-store events, including free movie-ticket giveaways to advance screenings.