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Walgreens’ Watts talks innovation at Product of the Year USA awards

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK

Walgreens VP and chief innovation officer Colin Watts was in Manhattan on Wednesday serving as the jury chair for the 2010 Product of the Year USA awards.

As jury chair, Watts was joined by several key industry and media members from such organizations as Fox Business, Fast Company and Drug Store News.

“We are honored that Colin will be an integral part of the 2010 Product of the Year awards,” stated Colleen Kelly, managing director, Product of the Year USA. “Colin’s expertise is unparalleled when it comes to innovation in consumer packaged goods. His involvement as jury chair will lend firsthand insight from a retailer’s perspective when this year’s competing products are reviewed.”

Watts, who joined Walgreens in 2008, is a healthcare and consumer packaged goods veteran who last served as VP and general manager of the U.S. business of Campbell Soup Co. Before that, he was president of Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare Worldwide business.

When measuring innovation, Watts told Drug Store News that it really boils down to uniqueness and relevance.

“If you think about the world from the standpoint of uniqueness, it is all about something truly different. Is it unlike anything else that I’ve seen out there? …. Relevance is it is important to me and is it serving my needs and relevant to my life?” said Watts. “The most successful innovations out there are ones that find that position where they are as unique as possible while also being as relevant as possible.”

Click here to listen to Drug Store News’ conversation with Watts about innovation, how to measure it and what Walgreens defines as true innovation.

The POY is the only consumer product award that rewards innovation and is voted on by consumers. Established more than 20 years ago in France, the Product of the Year currently operates in 28 countries with the same purpose: Guide consumers to the best products in the market and reward manufacturers for quality and innovation.

Backed by the votes of 100,000 consumers, the red POY seal serves as a shortcut for shoppers and, for manufacturers, the award is a powerful marketing message that has been shown to increase retail distribution and sales by an average of 10% to 15%.

POY accepts entries each year from consumer packaged goods that demonstrate innovation and were launched within the previous year. The products are then placed into specific categories, such as food or personal care, with a product then being chosen as a winner in its category through a nationally representative research study administered by TNS.

This year, entries include products from such brands as Pantene, Colgate, Sprite and Bounce.

Winners will be revealed at the Product of the Year awards ceremony in February 2010, and will be able to use the POY seal for marketing initiatives.

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Report: Kwik Shops to test drive-thru pharmacies in partnership with Dillons

BY Allison Cerra

WICHITA, Kan. Two Kroger-owned stores will launch a pilot program that merges the company’s convenience store and pharmacy concepts.

Dillions pharmacies will be implemented in two Kansas Kwik Shop convenience stores, according to the Wichita Eagle.

Dillons spokesperson Sheila Lowrie told the newspaper construction will start late next month. The new pharmacies, which will include drive-thrus, will open in early spring. Additionally, customers will be able to fill prescriptions and speak to pharmacists on site.

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Screen Dreams Publishing to release ‘Living Fireplace: Volume 2’

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. Screen Dreams Publishing, a leading developer and distributor of lively ambient imagery DVDs for all flat panel HDTVs, introduces a new and improved version of the top selling “fireplace” DVD with the release of “Living Fireplace: Volume 2” available on Nov. 2 on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray.

Featuring 20 unique scenes shot in 1080p and 720p high definition video- four of which are specifically themed for Christmas, and 10 soothing music and natural sound effects tracks.

“Our new and improved Living Fireplace: Volume 2 is the perfect holiday gift and offers more features and scenes than ever before,” said Stephen Spivak, founder and president of Screen Dreams Publishing Inc. “Since launching Living Fireplace four years ago, we continue to be the leader in ‘fireplace’ DVDs with our unparalleled variety of unique scenes, crisp HD picture, calming sound effects, and gorgeous music tracks that allow Living Fireplace: Volume 2  to instantly transform any HDTV into a vibrant window of warmth.”

Living Fireplace: Volume 2 is available through all major distributors and online at www.ScreenDreamsDVD.com. National retailers include Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Sam’s Club, RC Willey and many more.

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