- The Save Mart Companies has launched a shopper marketing program based on the Monopoly board game to its Save Mart and Lucky banners, the West Coast supermarket operator announced Wednesday.
- Shoppers will have the opportunity to win a range of prizes, including merchandise and one $100,000 payout, by participating in the CPG-funded promotion, which began Wednesday and will run through Oct. 31.
- The program is primarily focused on in-store shoppers and relies on paper game boards and tickets, setting it apart from the digital marketing campaigns grocers have focused on as they build omnichannel relationships with shoppers.
Save Mart elected to bring the “Monopoly Kick Off the Savings” program in part because executives felt it would drive sales by helping to make grocery shopping fun and interactive, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing Mark Van Buskirk said in an interview.
Employees will distribute a game board to people when they enter, and shoppers will earn at least one Monopoly ticket whenever they shop as well as bonus tickets if they purchase items that are included in the program. Some tickets can be redeemed instantly, while customers can affix others to their board. Prizes include cash, gift cards, merchandise and reward points.
Taken together, prizes and discounts associated with the program are valued at more than $25 million, Save Mart said in a press release.
Van Buskirk said Save Mart hopes the program will lead to more shopping trips, bigger baskets and more units per basket. He declined to name the CPGs that decided to participate but said Save Mart drew support from a broad list of major brands. “If you looked at the top 20 CPG partners that are out there, they’re participating in the program,” he said.
Save Mart deliberately timed the program to coincide with back-to-school season, when “there’s just a lot happening from a household standpoint,” Van Buskirk said.
“If you think about Monopoly and how the entire family plays, the entire family can get engaged in this as well,” he added. “That just creates that excitement the next time they go to a store.”
Save Mart is promoting the game through prominent signage in stores as well as a multimedia advertising campaigns that Van Buskirk said includes the grocer’s first TV presence “in a long, long time.”
Van Buskirk, who joined Save Mart in March, said he was impressed by how effective Monopoly has been in the past at driving customer engagement in supermarkets. He noted that he formerly worked as an executive for Albertsons, which ran Monopoly-themed promotions in the past, and had seen how the programs changed customer behavior and boosted customer engagement.
Other top officials of Save Mart appointed since its sale last year to private equity firm Kingswood Capital Management also have experience serving in high-level roles at Albertsons, including Executive Chairman Shane Sampson and Chief Digital Officer Tamara Pattison.
Based in Modesto, California, Save Mart runs about 200 stores in California and Northern Nevada under banners including Save Mart, Lucky and FoodMaxx. The regional grocer has exclusive rights to the Monopoly-themed program across its trade area, according to Van Buskirk.
The arrangement to use the Hasbro board game brand also includes a separate program for Save Mart’s associates, one of whom will win $20,000, Van Buskirk said.
“We felt it was important to get our associates engaged in the program so that they understand the program. They can be ambassadors for the program, and that real advocate from a customer perspective, so if a customer asks a question, our associates know about the game, they know how the game works, because they’re playing the game as well,” Van Buskirk said.