Record Number of Retailers Enter 2006 Potato Lover's Month Contest

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EAGLE, IDAHO, May 1, 2006 - It's no secret that creative displays in the retail environment move product. Need proof? For the 15th year in a

row, the number of entrants in the Potato Lover's Month Retail Display Contest significantly increased. In 2006, almost 1,000 more retailers than last year entered the contest, bringing the total number of entries to a staggering 2,680 figure. The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) and its partners Kraft® Cheese Whiz® and OSCAR MAYER®

Real Bacon Bits attribute the high interest to the fact that the displays are driving business during a traditionally slow time of year.

Another key factor contributing to the high interest level is the ease with which retailers could enter the contest.

"We worked very hard to ensure that every aspect of this contest required minimal time and energy to enter," said Seth Pemsler, VP/Retail, IPC. "Our goal all along has been to design a contest that focuses the retailers' energies on creating imaginative and compelling displays, without getting bogged down in the details. We know that the eye-catching displays not only make for good contest entries, but they also make solid business sense in the stores too."

Pemsler and the Kraft partners also credit the highly desirable premium offered to every qualified entrant for the contest's success. The 2006 premium was a free Magnavox DVD/CD player, valued at $69, which generated a huge and positive response from the retail community.

And The Winners Are ....
The following individuals/stores received top place awards in the three different store size categories in the Display Contest:

1-5 CASH REGISTERS
1st/$1,250 Randy Bonner
6-9 CASH REGISTERS
1st/$1,250 Chuck Ringholz
10+ Cash Registers
1st/$1,250 Steve Bianchetti
  Spain's Supermarket
Grenada, MS
  Schilds IGA
Norwalk, OH
  Smiths
Albuquerque, NM


For a complete list of contest winners, covering the two different contest categories (Display Contest Program and the Ad Contest Overlay Program), please click here.


 
Brett Boyd of Market House in Hillsdale, MI won 5th Prize in the Ad Overlay portion of the contest.


More on This Year's Contest
The sales-driving product displays with customized point-of-sale materials and recipes were spotted in all sizes of supermarkets across the country, during the contest period (primarily February, which is Potato Lover's Month). Adding to the contest's appeal is the fact that historically February is a slow potato sales month. This is certainly no longer the case.

Along with a major increase in the 2006 contest entries, the quality of displays continues to improve year to year.

According to Pemsler who serves on the judging panel along with the IPC's Retail Promotion Managers and their Kraft brand counterparts, the time and attention that the retailers devoted to their entries was inspiring.

"If this contest does one thing, it helps reinforce how important displays are in terms of generating interest for specific products." said Pemsler. "In fact, both the IPC and Kraft received many entries with extremely favorable comments indicating substantially increased sales due to the contest displays."
Along with the popular premium offered this year, there were other contest enhancements that contributed to the high response rate, including:

 

    • Online Option - Participants had the opportunity to submit their entries online. The added convenience of online submissions allowed more people to participate in the program. Additionally, POS material kits were easily available via the web site. This year more than ever before, the web site was utilized to secure POS materials as well as submit entry photography. This enhancement proved to be very successful for both the IPC/ Kraft and the retailers.

 

    • Spuddy Buddy, Better Than Ever - New mylar Spuddy Buddy balloons were a hit! They were easy to display and proved to be a coveted item with the retailers. Shipments of the new and improved Spuddy Buddies are already on order for next year.

 

    • Category Managers' Involvement - For the second year in a row, a matching prize for category managers was offered.

 

    • Ad Overlay Contest - The advertising contest encouraged creativity among both the ad manager and category manager which increased the visibility of the promotion and ultimately draws more consumers to the display.

 

    • Kraft Partnership - Kraft® Foods, the largest food marketer in the United States, used powerhouse brands Cheese Whiz® and OSCAR MAYER® Real Bacon Bits to partner with the IPC in the promotion. Using their large direct sales force, Kraft representatives got to the store level to effectively promote the contest, expanding interest and facilitating collaboration between the grocery and produce departments.

 


Due to the success of this year's promotion, Kraft has already agreed to partner with the IPC in the 16th annual event. Stay tuned for more creative ways to expand the success of this dominant promotion within the produce arena.

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