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Duane Reade encourages New Yorkers to make ’em laugh

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Duane Reade is inviting comedic talents to supply humorous or witty captions for a Duane Reade cartoon as part of the retailer’s Facebook "Caption Contest" that kicks off this week.

Each week for the next four weeks, the Manhattan-based retailer, which is owned by Walgreens, will run a caption-less cartoon in selected New York newspapers, where a uniquely New York scene or scenario is ripe for a clever caption. The subject matter in the various cartoons is designed to strike a chord with most city denizens.

In one cartoon, an air traffic controller is seen taking an ill-advised break amidst a busy day at the airport. A second cartoon has the city’s new sanitary grades for eating establishments making an appearance, as a man crawling through the desert encounters a less-than-sanitary sidewalk food vendor.

In each cartoon, a different Duane Reade product makes a cameo appearance. For instance, Duane Reade water is sold by the food vendor, and the air traffic controller sits reclined with a bag of Duane Reade popcorn while watching a movie on his monitor. All the products currently are featured in the new Duane Reader "magalog" that is published regularly for consumers by the drug store chain.

To submit a caption, contestants are asked to text "DR" to 30364, or visit Facebook.com/DuaneReade. Contest hopefuls also can visit the company’s corporate website and click on the dedicated contest banner located on the homepage.

"We felt this contest provided a natural viral path to increasing our social media presence while showcasing the creative zeal of many New Yorkers," stated Paul Tiberio, SVP merchandising and marketing at Duane Reade. "This Facebook initiative enables us to highlight our new Duane Reade product offerings in an edgy but strategically engaging way."

A panel of judges will select the best overall caption from among all entries for the four different cartoons, and will run the winning caption-cartoon combo as a full-page ad in the June 27 double issue of New York magazine.

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OxiClean looks to hit home run with new contest

BY Allison Cerra

PRINCETON, N.J. — Stain remover OxiClean has teamed up with Laura Posada, wife of Major League Baseball star Jorge Posada, to give hometown sports leagues the chance to win $10,000 for their organization.

OxiClean is promoting its "Brighten Up Your Ball Game" contest on the brand’s recently launched Facebook page. Consumers can enter their own story and photo on the page to explain why their child’s softball or baseball organization needs help from OxiClean to brighten up their game. The contest will run through May 31.

"We’re excited to announce the OxiClean Brighten Up Your Ball Game contest, and even more excited to see the stories and photos that parents submit on Facebook," said Craig Sheehan, OxiClean brand director at Church & Dwight. "OxiClean has been a trusted stain fighter for sports parents in helping them with their cleaning needs, and now we want to help little athletes too by giving them the opportunity to play a cleaner ball game."

Click here for more details about the Brighten Up Your Ball Game contest, including official rules and regulations.

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Delhaize America sees slight Q1 sales gain

BY Allison Cerra

SALISBURY, N.C. — First-quarter revenue for Delhaize America, the U.S. sector of the Delhaize Group, which includes such supermarket banners as Food Lion and Bottom Dollar, experienced a 0.1% increase to nearly $4.7 billion, the company reported.

Comparable-store sales for the quarter ended March 31 dropped by 0.3%, but marked a continued trend improvement for the third consecutive quarter. Operating profit for the quarter decreased by 13% to $216 million, which was attributed to an increase in selling; general and administrative expenses as a result of new stores contribution; more store remodels; higher repair and maintenance expenses; fees for increased electronic payments in the United States; and costs related to specific projects, such as the common procurement initiative and expenses related to strategic sales building initiatives at Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. These expenses partly were offset by continued cost savings.

Commenting on the financial results, Delhaize Group president and CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers said that the company is on track to achieving its goals and that its U.S. operations would relaunch the Food Lion banner in the Raleigh, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., markets.

As part of the relaunch, the banner also will be involved in several sales building initiatives, such operational enhancements as staffing and process improvements, product handling and replenishment improvements in the produce department, increased SKU counts, improved price positioning, and an easy and convenient shopping experience. Over the next months, Food Lion closely will monitor the success of these initiatives in order to ensure that both markets will provide valuable learnings for the upcoming rollout in the rest of the network to begin in 2012, Delhaize said.

“Today, we have relaunched around 200 Food Lion stores in the Raleigh and Chattanooga markets that will serve as phase one of the fundamental repositioning work focused on the brand elements of price, assortment and shopping experience," Beckers said of the company’s U.S. operations. "Helped by what we learn from this first phase, we will roll out the repositioning work to the large majority of the Food Lion network by the end of 2012.”

By the end of the quarter, Delhaize America operated 1,635 supermarkets, eight locations above the year-ago period.

Delhaize America recently appointed Don Hodge as its CEO.

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