SMITH'S, SUNKIST USE MOBILE BILLBOARDS TO MOVE ORANGES

SALT LAKE CITY -- Smith's Food & Drug Centers here moved 20% more oranges than usual during a week-long promotion in its southern California division.The chain ran the promotion in with Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, Calif. It featured 5 pounds of Sunkist oranges for $1, and used mobile billboards and radio ad spots to help promote the sale.Officials at the supermarket chain did not return phone calls

SALT LAKE CITY -- Smith's Food & Drug Centers here moved 20% more oranges than usual during a week-long promotion in its southern California division.

The chain ran the promotion in with Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, Calif. It featured 5 pounds of Sunkist oranges for $1, and used mobile billboards and radio ad spots to help promote the sale.

Officials at the supermarket chain did not return phone calls for comment on the event. According to John Famini, a sales representative for Sunkist, Smith's had to order 20% more oranges than originally planned for the promotion, which ran in March.

The billboards were circulated on five trucks, carrying the Sunkist image and Smith's name, within a 3- to 5-mile radius of the division's 33 units. "What's in a name? Everything," the billboards read. "Get Sunkist at Smith's Food & Drug Centers."

Rich Carroll, district manager for Sunkist, said using the billboards is "a new concept in this market." As a resource, the shipper used Billboards in Motion, Huntington Beach, Calif., a firm that specializes in mobile advertising.

"We're definitely going to look at doing it again," he added. He said he is waiting for budget plans to come in before committing to a similar promotion. Potential participants include Hughes Family Markets, Irwindale, Calif.; Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif., and Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif., according to a spokeswoman for Billboards in Motion.

Rourke Oakland, national sales manager for Billboards in Motion, said the company has done advertising for individual grand openings of supermarkets, but has never worked with a vendor and a chain before.

"It worked really well," he said. "Sunkist and Smith's seem real happy. We targeted the buying area very effectively."

Oakland said some of the moving billboards drove by Smith's competition. Several managers from stores competing with Smith's subsequently called with inquiries about the program, he added. To boost awareness of the promotion, Billboards in Motion also placed advertisements on local radio traffic reports, he said.

The cost for the billboards and the radio ads came to about $18,000, he said.