Magazine article Drug Topics

Phar-Mor Scores in Visibility with Its Sports Promotions

Magazine article Drug Topics

Phar-Mor Scores in Visibility with Its Sports Promotions

Article excerpt

For basketball fans, the phrase "power drive to the basket" is an important one. From enthusiasts watching the Mid-Continent Conference basketball game in early March, Phar-Mor Inc. hoped for a drive to a different kind of basket--the shopping carts in its 290 stores.

The deep-discount powerhouse, in the first part of a broad, three-year deal with the 10-school league, was a sponsor of the men's basketball tourney held March 8-10 at Cleveland State. In return for an undisclosed sum, the Phar-Mor logo, with its signature statement, "Power of Buying," served as the center circle.

In full view of CNN's national cable television audience as the game tipped off, the logo was also visible every time the cameras panned back and forth over the action. It was visible, too, on center-court banners, other auditorium signage, the cover of the tourney program, and even the players' chairs.

Phar-Mor supported this high-profile position with a number of ads during ESPN's March 10 broadcast of Eastern Illinois' 8368 triumph over Illinois-Chicago.

The championship game presence culminated Phar-Mor's TV tie-ins with MCC basketball for this season, as the deep-discounter took spots on 11 regular season games featured on the SportsChannel in Chicago and Ohio, including Cincinnati. Its ads also appeared on the umbrella network, SportsChannel America, which reaches some 17 million homes. The tourney's semifinals aired on SportsChannel America.

The chain ran a number of commercials touting various departments and services, including pharmacy, noted Phar-Mor public relations supervisor Paul Froehlich. This practice will continue, he added, with the three regional sports networks and their coverage of MCC's soccer and baseball games of the week, plus SportsCheck, a weekly sports issue show.

One of the highlights of the spring telecasts will be PharMor's on-air awarding of a $2,500 scholarship to a conference student for studies in the fields of medicine, nursing, or pharmacology. MCC assistant commissioner Jon Steinbrecher reported that Phar Mor will award two such scholarships--one for men, the other for women--over each of the final two years of its sponsorship.

"The scholarships were one of the things we stipulated in our arrangement," noted Froelich, who said Phar-Mor's sports marketing efforts have a value that transcends commercial exposure on television. …

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