Hollywood goes to market -- Buena Vista taps into ad potential at the grocery checkout

Supermarket checkout lines have always been a great place for impulse buys. Now Buena Vista is trying to tap into that consumer psychology with a novel PR gimmick. The studio is currently promoting its animated feature Mulan and asteroid extravaganza Armageddon via AdSticks — those dividers used at the grocery to separate your 10 items or less from the person’s behind you. So far, these mini-billboards have been planted in 300 Southern California supermarkets. Though it’s not the first time Hollywood has gone to market to market (last year Twentieth Century Fox pasted Anastasia stickers on fresh fruit), it is the first time Alpine Promotions, AdStick’s parent company, has gone Hollywood. Previously, the wands — the brainchild of dentist Steve Norby —] were used to advertise local Realtors on the East Coast. ”It’s a great idea because everyone who goes through the store has to grab one,” says Alpine’s director of sales Joe Saputo. ”And it’s probably the cheapest form of advertising out there.” (Cost: between $100 and $200 per store per month.) Then again, the campaign still has a few kinks. ”People are delighted and surprised when they see them,” says a studio spokesman. ”But they’re stealing them left and right.”