Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marketing Memo: Ingredients For 'Free Media' Marketing Success: Safeway Stores Finds Them With Announcement of its New 'Eating Right For Kids' Line

The marketing positioning statement for Pleasanton, California-based Safeway Stores, Inc. is Safeway: Ingredients For Life. The marketing message ties-in and communicates the grocer's "Lifestyle" food retailing format, which involves its store design and decor, overall and category-specific merchandising philosophy and program, product assortment, and additional elements of the grocer's identity and practice as a food retailer.

Natural~Specialty Foods Memo's Analysis is that Safeway has become not only a good food retailer but a supreme food marketer as well over the last decade. It's also become entrepreneurial, as well as a solid learning organization.

Under its Lifestyle format program, Safeway has upscaled its stores--going from what were basic supermarkets to attractive stores with soft but attractive color schemes inside, soft lighting, hardwood flooring in departments like produce, wine and gourmet foods, and much more attractive and modern lifestyle-looking store exteriors.

The chain's merchandising mix--especially its store brands like O' Organics, Eating Right, Signature Cafe fresh, prepared foods and others scream "Lifestyle." And that "Lifestyle is one of good foods bought at Safeway. The retailer has even redesigned its Safeway and Lucerne value-priced store brands in such a way as to make them look modern yet not upscale, which would befeat the purpose of a price-value store brand.

Today Safeway distributed a brief press release about a new line of Eating Right brand healthy foods for kids called "Eating Right Kids." The new line is part of a licensing agreement Safeway has inked with Warner Bros., in which the Eating Right brand food and grocery products targeted to kids will feature Warner Bros cartoon and related characters on them. Warner Bros. also will use its various venues to co-market the Safeway branded products to consumers.

All of the "Eating Right Kids" products will have a healthy focus, just as the regular Safeway Eating Right brand products do.
Ingredients for good press coverage

Before writing, and as we write this piece, the Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (NSFM) email box has been overflowing Safeway "Google Alerts" to publications of all kinds who are running stories on the Safeway/Warner Bros Eating Right Kids product introduction press release, which was just issued today by Safeway Stores, Inc and Warner Bros.

Online publications from CNN, Business Week and Forbes, to numerous newspapers and blogs of all sorts--from business and marketing-oriented blogs to motherhood an healthy foods-oriented publications--are already running pieces based on the news release.

Here's why: The ingredients for generating lots of positive coverage for a new product introduction in the food and grocery industry go something like this:

>Have a good story to tell
>Have a good angle
>keep the release brief
>Be topical
>Find a "hot button." In the food industry health is a hot button. Healthy foods for kids is an even "hotter" button. Cartoon characters to boot creates some sizzle.
>Tie the story in with an already popular brand.
>Be topical but on point.
>Tell how the new product introduction fits into what you do everyday.
>Tie-in the new product introduction release in with a wider social purpose.

The Safeway/Warner Bros introduction of the "Eating Right Kids" healthy foods line hits all the above hot buttons and a few others we won't mention for brevity sake.

Reprinted below in italics is today's Eating Right Kids new product introduction press release. As you read the release, we suggest you do so asking yourself how well it meets the nine criteria above. The Press Release:

Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) and Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced a partnership today that will create a better-for-you line of food products for children, uniting flavor and nutrition. Through a licensing agreement with Safeway(R), the Warner Bros. animated Looney Tunes characters will be featured on the new Eating Right Kids(TM) line of food and beverages, to be sold at Safeway.

Eating Right Kids, an extension of the successful Eating Right(TM) adult line, will launch later this year with select products arriving on store shelves this summer. The line will initially be carried at over 1,700 Safeway locations throughout the United States and Canada. In early 2009, Eating Right Kids will also be available nationally via the Better Living Brands(TM) Alliance. Each product in the multi-category, competitively priced line will feature such world-renowned Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Taz, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck.

Eating Right Kids is the first broad product line to feature entertainment characters and be dedicated solely to a healthier eating philosophy. Parents will now have an ally helping them show their kids that better-for-you foods can taste good and be fun at the same time.

"The Warner Bros. Consumer Products partnership will allow us to extend the Eating Right brand to a line of products that will appeal to children, and at the same time give parents the comfort that these products are healthier choices," said Mike Minasi, Safeway President, Marketing. "Integrating such well-recognized characters into our brand architecture will make the line more attractive to our target audience and augment the line's success."

"This partnership with Safeway allows us to utilize the Looney Tunes characters' enduring popularity with kids and teens to promote a lifestyle choice that's healthier for them," said Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. "Using our iconic characters as ambassadors of health and fitness, the Eating Right Kids program helps simplify good nutrition for parents and their children."

The broad product line will feature more than 100 items across 30 categories including breakfast foods, portable meals, dairy, snacks, and beverages. Products are formulated based on the most recent dietary recommendations and regulations from several federal and state agencies, including Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the California School Nutritional Guidelines SB12.

The product packaging will retain the Eating Right design architecture while taking full advantage of the personalities associated with the beloved Looney Tunes characters. The Looney Tunes characters will serve as 'Mother's Helper,' making it easy for moms to spot better-for-you food and beverage items for their kids that taste great. The characters will also be integrated into the Eating Right "Spot Your Needs(TM)" easy-reference system, which helps customers quickly identify the nutritional benefits of each product. "

As our nation continues to struggle with the issue of childhood obesity, Safeway has taken a leadership role in providing parents and consumers with food products that are healthier for children, and we believe in this philosophy," said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "Not only will the Eating Right Kids line provide a healthier eating solution for kids and their parents, but we've taken the additional step across the entire Looney Tunes product line in North America to ensure that the majority of food products featuring the characters meet this better-for-you standard and will be exclusively available through the Eating Right Kids line."

Today's announcement is the latest component in a larger, ongoing Safeway initiative focused on providing health and wellness solutions to its customers. The Eating Right line launched in April 2007 with products produced primarily for adults and now has nearly 200 items in more than 30 categories. The philosophy behind the brand is to offer healthier eating solutions across multiple categories with a "Spot Your Needs" easy reference system so consumers can easily identify foods that meet their individual requirements. Safeway also developed FoodFlex, an innovative online nutrition tool that provides personalized information about food, nutrition and alternative grocery options. Last year, Safeway launched its Good to Know program, an in-store and online guide to food nutrition. Good to Know signs are posted throughout stores and on showing the health benefits of certain products, including the cancer-fighting benefits. For example, the Good to Know product signs on broccoli and tomato sauce note that these foods may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.

We don't normally run press releases in NSFM, except for illustrative purposes like this one.

As you can observe from reading it, the release offers lots of information. However, all of it exists around a central them: healthy eating and lifestyle; which is what Safeway's positioning is as a food retailer. The announcement also ties-in the new product line with the bigger social problem of childhood obesity. Pretty tight media marketing in our analysis.

The Safeway/Warner Bros. Eating Right For Kids" new product line announcement news release just hit media email boxes today, June 4, as mentioned above. We didn't see it until afternoon. Here's a list of the media coverage the healthy foods product line announcement has gotten as of 9pm tonight. Remember, the news release was just issued today.

As we said, pretty good ingredients for media marketing in "Life."

No comments: