It's a given for many retailers that big sell-through hits simply peddle themselves. But titles such as "Forrest Gump," "Cinderella" and "The Lion King" also provide retailers with an opportunity to do more than just putting shippers out on the floor.
Albertson's, based in Boise, Idaho, pulled out the stops in the Seattle area for "The Lion King" release last year -- stores were involved in big display building contests. At one store, the entire front end was themed to the release and featured six 48-piece shippers with related merchandise, SN observed.
"We have been very pleased with the results from this type of merchandising effort, and we look forward to continuing this kind of success into the future," said Michael Read, director of public relations and government affairs at Albertson's.
Bel Air Markets, West Sacramento, Calif., not only utilized the large 288-piece rooftop displays that came with Disney's "The Aristocats" but ran an in-store contest tied to the title. The 17-store chain packaged 20 Disney Masterpiece titles that were on moratorium as the grand prize in a customer drawing.
"This was a promotion we hope will stick in people's minds for quite a while," said Rick Ang, a buyer at Video Mart in Sacramento, Calif., which racks videos for the chain.
Other titles like "Babe," "Apollo XIII," "Cinderella," "Pocahontas" and "Aladdin" were mentioned by retailers as bringing them additional exposure through national tie-ins with packaged-goods companies.
A video buyer for a large chain in Maine, who asked to remain anonymous, sets up elaborate displays and reported very successful co-marketing and promotional programs between sell-through video hits and related products.
"We don't do that many sell-through promotions, but the ones we do are extremely successful," she said. "With 'Pocahantas' and 'Cinderella,' we created an event where we built massive displays and tied-in with all the merchandise and products that were related to these titles."
The co-marketing efforts for the home video release of Disney's "Cinderella" involved a first-time arrangement with both General Mills and Kodak, offering consumers up to $15 in mail-in and instant rebates. The in-store materials for "Cinderella" included aisle bridges -- displays that connect adjacent endcaps -- and a variety of self-standing shippers, some of which included free booklets. Dan Black, nonfood buyer merchandiser, Raley's Supermarkets, West Sacramento, Calif., also mentioned "Cinderella" as one of his most successful promotions because of the tie-in with other products sold in his stores. "We did a big display and tied-in with all the Kodak and General Mills products. We had giveaways, and did contests, which I feel does make for a better promotion and helps increase sales," he said.
Black, who buys for 80 stores in California and Nevada, mentioned that his customers like the rebate coupons but specifically cited the Cinderella/Kodak instantly redeemable coupons as very popular.
"The rebate coupons are good. More videos will sell with them than without them, but the instant coupons are a better way to go," he added.
While some retailers put their own muscle behind promoting hit titles, others are satisfied with what is being offered by the studios, or aren't in a situation to do much more.
"We will put up a shipper, but we won't tie it into products," said Shirley Decker, video coordinator at Goff Food Stores in Haslett, Mich. She said the retailer has gone to a clean floor policy and doesn't allow anything down the aisles or in the wings. "The hits tend to sell themselves," she added. However, Decker said the retailer did boost sales and rentals with a free candy bar offer and video purchase. "We usually do it with an 89-cent Hershey bar. It's really amazing that we've seen an increase every time."
Dick Sizemore, general merchandise merchandiser at Pay Less Super Markets in Anderson, Ind., pointed to "The Lion King" as a very successful release.
"We got a complete sell-through," he said. The chain merchandised 48- and 96-unit prepacks. He also mentioned "Aristocats" as another winner. "I'm not sure if it did as well as 'The Lion King,' but we usually do very well on any of the Disney titles." Sizemore doesn't do much extra for the releases, either. "We just use the shippers and displays that come with them. Maybe we put a copy on the TV monitor and let it run. We put a few around the store, showcase them away from the display. And we sometimes set up a presentation in the rental area so if you go to rent a tape, you'll see the sell-through there, as well," he said. Tom Styers, director of general merchandise at Seessel's in Memphis, Tenn., also agreed with Sizemore's and Decker's company policies.