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P&G, Firehouse Subs partner in support of national Fire Safety month

BY Rozanne Gelbinovich

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble Professional, the away-from-home division of P&G, on Thursday announced a partnership with Firehouse Subs in support of national Fire Safety month.

Consumers who buy a $5 medallion at any of Firehouse Subs’ 453 restaurants will receive a Duracell 9-volt battery for their home smoke detector. Smoke alarms can become desensitized over time, and the goal of the partnership is to encourage consumers to replace their current smoke alarm battery with a new Duracell 9-volt battery. All proceeds raised through purchases of medallions will go toward the equipment, education and funding of public safety entities through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

"We’re pleased to partner with Firehouse Subs to help shine a light on the need for fire prevention while simultaneously offering consumers with a simple solution — a 9-volt Duracell battery — for home fire safety," said Eric Hetrick, P&G Professional North America commercial director. "This partnership is one example of P&G Professional’s ongoing commitment to work closely with our customers to help improve their business, and the lives of their employees and customers."

Robin Peters, executive director of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, added, "We are fired up for Fire Safety Month and want to raise awareness, as well as funds, for deserving first responders. Through donations raised in our restaurants, we have given more than $3.1 million in lifesaving equipment to fire departments, police departments and EMS across the country. We hope to raise a record amount this October, and are thrilled to partner with P&G Professional in distributing Duracell 9-volt batteries for use in home smoke detectors to further help the life-saving efforts of first responders."

For more information, visit FirehouseSubs.com, Facebook.com/FirehouseSubs or Twitter at @firehousesubs.

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Rite Aid’s Wellness+ loyalty program wins 2011 LEADER Award

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s customer loyalty card program has received recognition from a trade organization that focuses on marketing practices that use technology, Rite Aid said Friday.

The retail pharmacy chain announced that it received the 2011 LEADER Award in the loyalty category from the Shopper Technology Institute for its Wellness+ program. The institute presents the LEADER Awards for Excellence, sponsored by IBM, at its LEAD Marketing Conference. The award’s name is an acronym for loyalty, engagement analytics and digital applications.

"From day one, we’ve been extremely proud of Wellness+ and the innovative way it combines shopping discounts with health and wellness benefits," Rite Aid VP marketing Craig Riner said. "To be recognized by our retail peers with a 2011 LEADER Award is welcome affirmation of what our 44 million members have resoundingly told the world — that the value of Wellness+ is significant."

The program was launched throughout the chain in April 2010, and since then has been expanded to include Wellness+ for Diabetes, which the company introduced last month. At the time of its launch, it was billed as the retail pharmacy industry’s first and only customer loyalty program to provide health-and-wellness benefits as well as shopping discounts and special prices. The Zocalo Group Recommendation Index also named it the top-ranked and most-recommended loyalty program in the country.

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Unilever to acquire Russian beauty company Concern Kalina

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON — Unilever has agreed to acquire Russian beauty company Concern Kalina, which significantly will strengthen its foothold in skin care and hair care in Russia.

Unilever initially is acquiring 82% of Concern Kalina for approximately €390 million ($537 million). The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

Concern Kalina, which is based in Ekaterinburg, is Russia’s largest local personal care player with leading positions in skin and hair care. The company has an extensive distribution network and sells its products primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

"We are delighted to be acquiring Concern Kalina. This will transform Unilever’s personal care business in Russia, giving us leading positions in skin care and hair care, as well as establishing a presence in oral care. It will also strengthen and rebalance Unilever’s portfolio and competitive position in Russia, an emerging market with considerable potential and one of our priority countries," stated Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

Personal care is a strategic category for Unilever that is rapidly growing. Ten years ago it represented 20% of group turnover at Unilever and strong organic growth has driven it to now reach more than 30%.

Alexander Petrov, CEO of Concern Kalina, added, “The coming together of our company with one of the most successful and best-known global companies represents a tremendous vote of confidence in the strength of our brands, the people who have built them and the potential of the Russian market. The combination with Unilever will also provide our employees with opportunities in one of the best companies in the world."

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