The “Harvest Hobgoblin” retail promotion from J.P. Dulcich & Sons/Sunlight International Sales Inc. in Delano, CA, first introduced in 2010, is now entering its third season. “It is a monster promotion,” said Nick Dulcich, a partner in J.P. Dulcich & Sons and president of Sunlight. “It has grown. It is growing. And we are hoping that the success continues on that.”
The promotion starts in late summer, typically around the first of September, “to coincide with when the stores turn to fall” in their merchandising, Dulcich said Aug. 8. “We do a big thing on the ‘Hobgoblin’ in the fall. It has turned into a big deal, and I have a lot of people interested in it.”
The “Harvest Hobgoblin” promotion, like the “Pretty Lady” promotion that runs earlier in the season and was introduced the same year, features fruit packed in a high-graphic gusseted stand-up bag. Dulcich maintains that the use of the stand-up bag for those promotions marked the advent of the stand-up bag by a shipper in the grape industry. The new pack style quickly became popular, and today most shippers are using a similar gusseted bag, some exclusively, and many retailers are asking for it.
Later in the season, Sunlight follows up with another holiday promotion, the “Pretty Lady” Christmas campaign, with its own special Santa-themed graphics.
But the high-graphic stand-up bag is only part of the Sunlight “Harvest Hobgoblin” and other promotions. “We have a lot of support on the thing,” complete with high-graphics bins, danglers, posters, placards and even balloons, he said. “It is a phenomenal promotion.”
Turnover of the “Harvest Hobgoblin” grapes during the promotion is “pretty incredible,” he said. “It gives the produce department some life and some pizzazz. If retailers use the bin to display the stand-up bags, then use some of the other materials such as posters and balloons on the display, “It is a big draw. It draws customers in.”
The bins and the bags sport a QR code that can be scanned by anyone with a smart phone. The scan takes shoppers to a fun video they can view on their smart phones showing a witty Halloween witch talking about creative Halloween recipes and usage ideas for Dulcich grapes.
“It has all come together in a very tight-knit marketing campaign” designed to increase lift at retail, Dulcich said.
Sunlight does “a lot of volume in the fall,” Dulcich said. “We’ve got red, green and black grapes all primed to go from September to the new year, pretty much.
The company has “an incredible amount of Autumn King in production that will take us from about the third week of September all the way into Thanksgiving. Then I’ve got the Luisco grape in the same volume I’ve had the last few years. That will take us into Christmastime.” In addition to those late-season green seedless varieties, “we’ve got other standard green grapes, Thompsons and whatnot, for the early part of September.”
In the black seedless category, “we are going to have Autumn Royals for the fall,” he said.
“For the red, we have a lot more Scarlet Royal that we have put into production,” he said. “Then we will finish the year off with Crimsons on the tail end, and with Vintage as well.”
The company’s production will be up significantly in both the Autumn King and Scarlet Royal, providing “a lot of volume” in the September, October and November period, he said.
Vintage red seedless is a variety that “we really like,” Dulcich said. “It seems to respond really well. It colors well, and the size is there.” With young plantings increasing in volume, “we actually net year should have 200,000 [boxes] of those, so we are growing in that category as well.”