Winn-Dixie promoting new movie, book

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – A Newbery medal-winning children’s story making its way to the big screen could have an impact at a supermarket near you. Southeastern grocery chain, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., is featured as the namesake of the book – and movie -“Because of Winn-Dixie” and is sharing its role as a movie star with its customers through a shopping rewards program and book donations throughout its operating areas.

“Because of Winn-Dixie,” starring Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, and introducing AnnaSophia Robb, opens in theaters nationwide February 18. Portions of the movie were filmed at a Winn-Dixie store in Louisiana. The story chronicles a girl who befriends several uncommon characters in her new home of Naomi, Fla. – including a stray dog she meets at the town’s Winn-Dixie store. Through her new friends, India Opal Buloni learns the joys of friendship and family.

Winn-Dixie has partnered with 20th Century Fox to offer shoppers the ability to earn points redeemable for officially-licensed merchandise, including a free copy of the book that inspired the movie, a plush look-alike toy of the movie’s canine star, “Winn-Dixie,” and two tickets to see the movie.

Beginning this week, customers can earn one point for each dollar spent when using their Customer Reward Card. Points will accumulate through Jan. 30. Beginning Feb. 9 through Feb. 22, customers who earn 200 points can redeem those points for two free movie tickets. Those who earn 250 points can redeem them for the movie tickets and a copy of the book. Customers who earn 300 points or more can redeem them for the tickets and book, as well as the plush dog. Most Winn-Dixie stores will also sell the officially-licensed merchandise.

“This is such a beautiful story of friendship and community, and we are proud to play a part in it,” said Joanne Gage, vice president of marketing and advertising at Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. “With the launch of the film, we want to take an active role in bringing this story to our shoppers and communities. The points program allows us to share the magic of Kate DiCamillo’s story with our customers and their families just for doing what they already do – shopping with us.”

“We’re always looking for organic promotional opportunities, and this partnership with Winn-Dixie is a natural. We are delighted they are so excited about the movie, and that they recognize its special magic,” commented Jeffrey Godsick, executive vice president of marketing at Twentieth Century Fox, which has also provided Winn-Dixie the rights to use promotional images from the movie for in-store signage and point-of-purchase materials.

Winn-Dixie plans to donate thousands of copies of “Because of Winn-Dixie” to libraries in its operating areas across the Southeast to promote literacy and give even more people the opportunity to share in this wonderful story of friendship.

“Winn-Dixie takes a special pride in giving back to causes and organizations that support children and education in the communities in which we operate,” said Gage. “Our mission is to be the best supermarket in every neighborhood in which we operate, offering the best value, freshest products and outstanding customer service every day. And this is just another way we can deliver on that mission.”

One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of FFE: 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., is one of the nation’s largest food retailers. Founded in 1925, the Company is headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. For more information, please visit