Sweet news Longs; A New Hollywood flick is to be released starring Jeff Daniels and others entitled "Because of Winn Dixie". How's that for brand recognition. You got to love this one. What other companies have their name in the title of a major feature film? thats right, not even coke, msft, intc, pfe, ge. this is great news and as for winnlady, bob and other bashers....you can eat the doggy doodie of the winn dixie pooch in this movie. i truly have bitter hatred for you geezer bashers
JACKSONVILLE -- It might not be the miracle Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. needs to revive its brand, but exposure from an upcoming feature film stacked with big-name stars and emotional moments isn't likely to hurt the ailing Jacksonville grocer.
"When people ask how this dog got its name, the answer will have to be there's this store and it, at least at one time, represented these regional values," said Abram Sauer, a New York-based brand analyst for Brandchannel.com.
"That's got to be good for Winn-Dixie," Sauer said. "It'll hammer [the name] into the minds of potential customers."
It would be difficult to contemplate how a film about the friendship between a little girl and her dog, named Winn-Dixie for the store where she found it, could further damage the 65-year-old company, which ended its fiscal year June 30 with a $100 million loss, posted a $153.1 million loss for its most recent fiscal quarter ended Sept. 22 and changed CEOs seven months after launching its latest turnaround plan.
"Because of Winn-Dixie" is a feature film based on an award-winning children's book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo.
Its story line is as warm and fuzzy as it gets: a lovable abandoned dog adopted by a lonely 10-year-old girl -- whose only wish is "for a friend" -- charms a small Florida town and helps her fit in.
The "friend" materializes in the produce aisle of a Winn-Dixie store, when the girl makes a snap decision to claim the pooch as it wreaks fun-loving havoc inside the store.
Even the movie's tagline could refer to a potential brand boost for the grocer: "Discover what happens when you go looking for a miracle and a miracle comes looking for you."
Rising child star AnnaSophia Robb gives the recipient of the miracle a face as Opal, while familiar box office faces, including Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint, make up the list of costars. Pop singer Dave Matthews makes his acting debut, a draw that has had fans loading message boards with speculation on his performance in the trailer.
Director Wayne Wang tops off the movie's appeal with such resume credits as "The Joy Luck Club" and "Maid in Manhattan."
Although Winn-Dixie won't see any revenue from the film, it will reap the benefit of exposure through a multitude of promotional venues that will keep its name in nearly constant circulation, including a permanent place in homes on DVD and video.
Winn-Dixie spokeswoman Joanne Gage said the company sold the book in stores when it came out in 2000, and learned about plans to make it a feature film nearly two years ago.
After reading the script, Winn-Dixie agreed to let 20th Century Fox film inside the circa 1967 Donaldsonville, La., store and use the company's name in the film, Gage said.
As for the exposure Winn-Dixie would have paid for under other circumstances, Gage said she couldn't put a dollar figure on it.
"I would say you can't buy publicity like that," said Gage, vice president of advertising and marketing. "We felt it was in our best interest to work with [20th Century Fox] and do the promotion rather than worry about charging them for the store.
"We probably lost some revenue by closing the store for some periods of time, but it was never about the money. It's a beautiful story and it's nice because [the book] makes Winn-Dixie a household name. Having a movie made about it is even better."
The marriage of a film and a brand name or product is nothing new in entertainment, and is a viable positioning vehicle that opens an unparalleled door for consumer exposure, Sauer said.
Because product positioning has grown into "a Wild West game where people pay millions," Sauer said it's impossible to estimate what Winn-Dixie might have paid for such advertising.
And though he doesn't see the movie as packing enough promotional power to save Winn-Dixie's brand, Sauer does credit the grocery chain for maximizing the exposure through ties to its customer reward card. The company has established thresholds shoppers can reach with their grocery bill to receive movie tickets, a copy of the book and a plush dog.
"It's really important that they're doing that because it maximizes the benefit, and that's really what you're looking for," Sauer said. "It's probably a win-win, but it does depend on how much mileage you can get out of it. This is a chance for Winn-Dixie to improve its image for close to free."