My wife and I watched the movie "Happy Feet" in a tent in a Meijer parking lot last night. Why? Because it was free and we're Dutch. But I was also curious as to this event from a PR perspective.
If you know Grand Haven, you know the Meijer on 31 just south of town has been a profit-center for Meijer for years. But now, across the street to the south, after much community debate and revisions of site plans, a Wal-Mart lurks.
So we saw signage and even an airplane banner at the beach touting the free movie at Meijer. Not sure if this is a one-time thing for the Fourth of July weekend. I'm not even sure if this is a conscious response to the head-to-head competition from Wal-Mart coming soon. But it does seem like an attempt to use some old-fashioned community relations to build goodwill toward Meijer.
It might work. It might not. There's no telling whether a free screening of "Happy Feet" will retain and enhance customer loyalty. But it was interesting to be greeted at the movie's close by store managers thanking us for coming. I'm sure they want us to be happy and shop at Meijer rather than shuffle our feet across the street to Wal Mart.