LAS VEGAS — Associated Food Stores received six Creative Choice awards from the National Grocers Association last week at the NGA Annual Convention here.
The Salt Lake City-based wholesaler received honors in various categories, including nation's best fresh food merchandising, best store-brand marketing and best connections through technology.
The awards highlighted many of the company's recent efforts, including a world-record eclair promotion at its Dick's Market stores, a creative bagel sale at its Macey's stores, and an innovative marketing campaign for its Western Family private-label brand.
AFS placed first in six of the 25 categories, the most of any company in the nation. All entries were judged by a panel of industry experts, and winners were selected based on the creativity, clarity and effectiveness of the campaigns and promotions.
“We are extremely pleased to see the independent grocers serviced by Associated Food Stores recognized on a national level,” Roger White, executive director of marketing at AFS, said in a release.
Separately, in a workshop presentation at the conference, Brett Gallacher, director of marketing and research for AFS, said the company was planning to expand its successful Internet promotion of the Western Family label this spring.
As previously reported, AFS ran an Internet-based series of 13 “webisodes” about a mother, father and two kids called “The Western Family,” he explained.
Each episode ran two or three minutes, and each ended with a coupon offer for a Western Family item. Each episode got more than 50,000 hits, he added, “which means that for three minutes, 50,000 people were thinking about our private label,” he pointed out.
Over the 13-week period, Associated gave consumers 30,000 Western Family items at $1.50 each, including green beans, string cheese, cake mix and cookies, he said.
The episodes concluded in November, so it's difficult to pinpoint the impact they had on private-label sales, Gallacher said, while noting that Western Family sales for the year rose 11.7% overall.
Associated Food Stores expects to develop a new series of webisodes, featuring a different family, to begin running in April.