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Report: FSI coupon activity down in 2011

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Free Standing Insert coupon activity dropped 3.9% over the first six months of 2011 versus the same time period a year ago, Marx, a Kantar Media solution, reported on Wednesday. 

The decline is the first reported in the first half of the year since 2008, when there was a 3.4% decline. 

“After several years of significant growth, FSI coupon activity may be stabilizing while more integrated print and digital coupon promotion tactics are emerging,” stated Mark Nesbitt, president of Kantar Media Intelligence North America.

“For example, some [consumer packaged goods] brands are using their FSI events to drive shoppers to their brand websites or social media websites to download coupons,” Nesbitt added. “Additionally, some CPG manufacturers are distributing digital coupons on retailer websites to support their major corporate-scale-themed FSI coupon events.”

The number of coupons dropped through FSIs may be down, but the value of those coupons isn’t. During the first half of 2011, more than $236 billion in consumer incentives were delivered via FSI coupons in Sunday newspapers, up 0.8% from the same period in 2010. During the same six-month period, more than 149 billion coupons were distributed within more than 111 billion FSI pages. FSI coupon average face value achieved a new record level in the first half of 2011 at $1.58, up 4.9%, Kantar Media reported. 

However, retail promotion activity is on the rise, Kantar Media reported. The number of pages increased to 8.4 billion, representing a 27.3% increase. Walmart jumped from being ranked No. 13 based on pages circulated during the first half of 2010 to lead retailer promotion activity for the first half of 2011. Seven-of-the-top-10 retailers increased pages circulated during the first half of 2011 versus one year ago. Additionally, the number of manufacturers participating in retailer promotion events increased from 211 during the first half of 2010, to 293 during the first half of 2011. 

Retailers from mass (e.g., Walmart and Target); value (e.g., Dollar General and Family Dollar); drug (e.g., Walgreens and CVS Caremark); and specialty pet (e.g., Petsmart and Petco) comprised the top eight positions. Kroger and Publix were the leading food retailers and were ranked No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. 

“More manufacturers are partnering with their leading retailers on promotion events designed to reach shoppers in the home when they are developing purchase intent and planning shopping trips,” Nesbitt said. “Walmart may be using retailer promotion events to emphasize [its] renewed focus on product assortment and to attract a greater share of shoppers that use coupons to [its] stores.” 

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Hy-Vee promotes healthy cooking with in-store chef

BY Alaric DeArment

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Hy-Vee is the latest supermarket chain to bring a trained chef into the store to encourage customers to cook healthy food at home, according to published reports.

The Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader reported Wednesday that a local Hy-Vee store had brought in chef Scott Teal to oversee food displays, demonstrate ways to prepare food and teach classes. It also gives the store a way to showcase new produce, such as brown-colored chocolate grape tomatoes.

Hy-Vee has long emphasized healthy eating, and getting customers out of the restaurants into their kitchens is one way to do that. Natural food chain Whole Foods has a similar initiative, fielding an army of “cooking coaches” who talk to customers about what kinds of foods are available in the store and how to pick out the right kinds of food.

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Nickelodeon’s Jennette McCurdy to promote H-E-B back-to-school campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN ANTONIO — H-E-B on Tuesday signed celebrity Jennette McCurdy, co-star of Nickelodeon’s iCarly, to star in its new Gear Up for Back-to-School ad campaign. The campaign launches July 13 and runs through Aug. 31.

The H-E-B campaign will feature McCurdy in a series of TV and newspaper ads, outdoor boards, in-store signage and H-E-B’s My H-E-B Texas Life publication. An online component also plays heavily into the campaign and includes a presence on HEB.com and on H-E-B’s Facebook and Twitter pages. A Spanish-language campaign, featuring McCurdy, will run simultaneously in the select Texas markets of San Antonio, Austin, McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

“Jennette has proven to be a consistent favorite with children and parents alike, and we are looking forward to a positive response to her presence in the campaign,” stated Cory Basso, H-E-B Group VP marketing and advertising.

iCarly is the No. 1-rated cable show for children between the ages of 2 and 14 years. The show, now entering its fifth season, is a consistent Favorite Show winner at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, and McCurdy’s iCarly character, Sam, was voted Favorite Sidekick at the 2011 Kids’ Choice Awards.

In the Gear Up for Back-to-School campaign, H-E-B and McCurdy will offer families quick tips and solutions for starting off the school year on the right foot with back-to-school supplies and good nutrition.

To further add to the campaign, H-E-B is running two promotions in its stores. In the Gear Up and Go giveaway, customers will be invited to enter for a chance to win a year of free groceries or a back-to-school shopping spree sponsored by Netspend. Customers also can win more than 6,500 other prizes and offers.

In the Be A VIP with Jennette McCurdy promotion, customers will have the chance to win a meet and greet with McCurdy in their hometown. Additional details on both promotions and the Gear Up for Back-to-School campaign can be found at HEB.com/school.

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