WASHINGTON -- Byerly's, Wild Oats Markets and Fleming were among the supermarkets that recently received awards for advertising efforts.
The Food Marketing Institute here partnered with Good Housekeeping magazine for the annual Advertising Merit Awards, open to food retailers worldwide.
Byerly's, Edina, Minn., took first place in the direct mail category; Wild Oats Markets, Boulder, Colo., accepted an honorable mention for its weekly newspaper circular; and Fleming, Lewisville, Texas, was awarded first place in the television, customer service/store image category.
Byerly's winning entry -- the Byerly Bag -- is a monthly mailing that has the look of a gourmet food publication, said Michelle Croteau, spokeswoman for the chain and the editor of the publication.
In addition to original recipes and product information, the 14-page multicolor spread uses a lifestyle theme, including articles along the lines of Mardi Gras parties and gardening, Croteau said.
"It's a great marketing piece," she said. "It's a good representation of who Byerly's is. Customers really have a piece of us in their homes."
Betty Taylor, one of the designers of the Wild Oats' newspaper circular, feels that the monthly flier's tone is what sets it apart.
"Our grocery deals are presented in a much friendlier way than they may be in a typical supermarket flier," she said.
For example, the December issue featured a center spread highlighting "warm and cozy" holiday beverages.
"We are trying to present the information in a way that is both beautiful and clear," said Taylor.
"We want to invite the customer to our stores while providing them with information that helps them use our products."
Fleming's ad is a television spot promoting the Best Yet store brand. According to Buddy Martensen, director of retail marketing services at Fleming, the commercial is a unique approach to food advertising.
"Traditionally, supermarket operators try to tell a dual story of quality and price," he explained. "Normally, price works against quality. We decided to take a different approach, selling quality on its own."
The commercial uses unique imagery -- such as the Concorde jet in tandem with concord jelly -- to foster positive associations between the Best Yet brand and recognizable quality.
The price message is told on the shelves, a pleasant surprise for the consumer who comes to the store in search of Best Yet products and finds them to be considerably cheaper than comparable national brands, said Martensen.
Other companies that won awards include Price Chopper and Wegmans Food Markets and Associated Wholesale Grocers.