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CVS Caremark, The Miracle Project aim to connect with children with autism

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO — CVS Caremark announced today its partnership with The Miracle Project, a nonprofit organization that creates social skills programs for children with autism through the performing arts, to expand The Miracle Project School Inclusion Program to public schools in San Diego and San Jose, Calif.

Supported by a $50,000 grant from CVS Caremark through its All Kids Can program, which is committed to helping children of all abilities, The Miracle Project School Inclusion Program will provide training programs for teachers, parents, caregivers, therapists and volunteers in the San Diego and San Jose communities to help create successful school environments for children of all abilities to thrive.

"CVS Caremark All Kids Can is committed to supporting organizations like The Miracle Project that promote inclusion and provide opportunities for children to learn, play and succeed in life," explained Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate communications and community relations for CVS Caremark. "We are proud to play a role in providing children with autism in the San Diego and San Jose communities with the opportunity to express themselves through musical theater."

Through its musical theater programming, The Miracle Project strives to celebrate the talents and potential of young people with autism by guiding them through creative workshops and artistic programs. The School Inclusion Program teaches educators how to implement The Miracle Project curriculum in schools throughout the community.

The Miracle Project and CVS Caremark will offer a free "Unlocking Autism" training to the public in each of the two cities to teach community members how to connect children and teens with and without autism through theater, music and dance.

On April 26, CVS Caremark and The Miracle Project will host a training session at San Diego’s Pioneer Day School and on May 10, CVS Caremark and The Miracle Project will host a training session at San Jose’s Campbell Community Center.

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Report: Digital coupon events on websites rose 17.1% in Q1

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Kantar Media revealed that digital coupon events across key websites experienced a boost during first quarter 2012.

Kantar Media solution Marx found that key websites increased digital coupon events by 17.1%, compared with the year-ago period, while 368 manufacturers distributed digital coupon offers on these key digital coupon websites during the quarter, a 29.1% increase over the year-ago period. Among these manufacturers, 146 distributed digital coupons across both retailer and network websites, 211 manufacturers distributed digital coupons only on retailer websites and 11 manufacturers distributed digital coupons only on network websites. The number of manufacturers distributing digital coupons on only retailer websites grew by 43.5% in the first quarter, compared to the same period in 2011, Kantar Media noted.

When it came to what areas were represented in first-quarter digital coupon events, food areas represented 49.6% of digital coupon events, while nonfood areas represented 52.3%, as some had activity in both areas. An increase in share of activity was recorded 3-out-of-4 nonfood areas, with household products experiencing the highest boost of 0.4 points. On the other hand, the dry grocery category saw the largest decrease in share, declining 1.5 points from first quarter 2011 to first quarter 2012.

"Digital coupons are a key component within an integrated consumer promotion and advertising program," Kantar Media Marx general manager David Hamric said. "More and more manufacturers are becoming involved in digital promotion and coupons, aligning with multiple websites, potentially increasing consumer exposure to their brand message."

Looking across the top retailer websites monitored by Kantar Media, the report found that these sites distributed 2,572 digital coupon events across 296 manufacturers during the first quarter. Additional findings included:

  • Kroger.com had the greatest number of events at 726, but the lowest number of manufacturers active on their website during the first quarter;

  • Safeway.com was the second-most active key retailer website with 634 events and 102 manufacturers promoting in first quarter 2012; and

  • Publix, the third-most active website had the greatest number of manufacturers at 141, comprising more than half of the total manufacturers that were active across all websites in first quarter 2012.

"Retailers provide an important link between manufacturers and their consumers through multiple advertising and promotion platforms that may be used to drive sales and build brand equity — including digital coupons," aid Dan Kitrell, VP of Marx Account Solutions, at Kantar Media North America. "Retailers offer brand marketers and retail account teams different digital coupon programs including both ‘load-to-card’ and ‘print-at-home’ coupon programs. But many retailers go further by integrating digital coupon offers with other advertising programs to reach shoppers in the home and to drive a trip to the retailer’s store."

Kitrell said that manufacturers that are looking to effectively partner with retailers "need to understand where their categories and brands fit within their retailer’s advertising and promotion programs so they may better align the right programs with the right retailers during the right weeks."

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NPD: Most shoppers say price has to be right before they shop

BY Allison Cerra

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Price trumps sales and special deals, customer service and convenience as a factor in deciding where to shop for the majority of U.S. consumers, according to a survey by NPD.

NPD’s the Economy Tracker, a monthly monitor of consumer sentiment about the economy and spending, found that in its most recent survey, 85% of U.S. consumers said that price will be an extremely important/important factor in deciding where to shop in the near future, 10% more than those who feel sales and special deals are extremely important/important.

By income, 87% of those in the household income bracket of $25,000 to $50,000 selected price as extremely important/important, 85% in the $50,000 to $100,000 income bracket, and 82% in the $100,000-plus bracket.

Seventy-nine percent of young adults ages 18 to 34 years, 86% of adults ages 35 to 44 years, 88% of 45 to 54 year olds, 89% of 55 to 64 year olds and 86% of adults ages 65 years and older said that price was extremely important/important.

"Shoppers are now savvier when spending money. They have new ways of gauging the marketplace — they can compare prices on the Web while at home or while standing in a brick-and-mortar store with their smartphones," NPD SVP advanced analytics John Deputato said. "We certainly have moved to a time of calculated consumption for shoppers … and price has come to the forefront of the purchase decision."

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