SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here and Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine have joined forces to nominate the "MVP," the most valuable parent of the year, in an essay contest sponsored by Quaker Oats, Campbell Soup Co., Ortega and General Mills.
The promotion, which officially ran from March 27 to April 23, was sold locally to the four packaged goods sponsors who helped provide prize money.
Food Lion here advertised the promotion in three ways: with a half-page ad in its weekly circulars (15 million circulation), with in-store fliers and with a specific 30-second spot that ran on local television.
"Sports Illustrated for Kids provided a good vehicle to bring Food Lion's commitment to kids to the retail forefront," said Jay Abraham, the chain's vice president of marketing.
"It utilized the resources SIKids has to get us relevant, timely and accurate information about parenting skills, and packaged it for our vendors in a way that gave them some visibility from a merchandising standpoint. It also tied them in with what's perceived as a good cause for the community."
Entrants need to include an essay of 300 words or less as to why the nominee should be named MVP of 1996.
"One of the great aspects of this promotion," Abraham said, "is that anyone can nominate anyone. Your child can nominate you, or you can nominate your spouse or a friend who is a great parent."
Four grand prize winners -- two MVP winners and the two people who nominated them -- each receive a prize of $25,000. Ten first-prize winners are awarded $200 gift certificates to the Sports Illustrated Insider Catalog, 50 second prize winners receive $100 shopping spree certificates to Food Lion, and 100 third prize winners are sent a copy of the Sports Illustrated For Kids Sports Encyclopedia.
"We're obviously trying to drive sales and help increase store count, but there's an image aspect of this particular promotion," said Abraham. "We're really trying to convey to the consumers and the public that Food Lion is committed to developing programs and working with the community to improve the lives of kids."
The year-long program, which ran in four-week cycles, gave away a "planned learning activity," in the stores each month.
For the 13th cycle and as the culmination of "Most Valuable Parent" contest, New York-based Sports Illustrated For Kids developed a custom 8-page mini magazine for parents, discussing different ways that parents could be better parents. They printed 110,000 copies and provided the self-contained shippers for display cases in the stores.