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What a Spider Can Do (at Retail)

9 Nov, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf


There was no such thing as arachnophobia as retailers rolled out the red carpet for Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Friday home video debut of Spider-Man and its special edition DVD.

At a dozen Southern California retail outlets, Spidey fever took a fast hold on video sections as retailers offered a bevy of pricing deals and promotions centered around the anticipated title. Retailers also played up animated “Spider-Man” titles like Return of the Green Goblin and Ultimate Villains, stocking plenty of these near their Spider-Man displays, many outlets offering savings on combined DVD purchases.

A Best Buy location used the title to promote its rental partner, Netflix. A sign in the DVD section read “Get Spider-Man for $4.99 With a Paid Netflix Signup.” Customers who bought the Spidey DVD along with a Netflix membership on Nov. 1 or Nov. 2 got a free $10 in-store gift card.

Best Buy also offered a $2 savings on the combined purchase of the Spider-Man DVD and soundtrack.

Consumers were drawn to the DVD's web and almost gleeful at the low prices they found. A Best Buy shopper watched carefully as the clerk sorted and began to ring up his stack of DVD purchases, which included Spider-Man. “Now that's really $14.99, right?” he asked the clerk excitedly, pointing at the $19.99 sticker on the case (the title was on sale for $14.99).

Best Buy's newspaper circular for the week took on a Spidey comic-book theme and touted Spider-Man collectible gift cards as free with the purchase of everything from DVD/VCR combos to laser printers to washer-and-dryer sets.

At a nearby Kmart, by the second day of release the store had run out of widescreen versions, to the chagrin of several shoppers who queried clerks then left emptyhanded instead of choosing one of the store's many full-frame versions still stacked in the merchandiser.

Fry's Electronics devoted an entire endcap of its precious DVD shelfspace to the title, stocking plenty of DVD as well as VHS copies, the Spider-Man gift set and multiple animated Spidey, “Batman” and “X-Men” titles.

Circuit City offered a free game case with the purchase of the DVD and the new Spider-Man game on any platform.

At Tower, front-door signage promoted a “Tower Exclusive” giveaway. Shoppers could enter to win one of 15 Les Paul Spider-Man-themed guitars.

Target offered DVD and VHS on-pack coupons good for $1 off a Spider-Man bobble head and $3 off a Dr. Pepper 12-pack.

And Blockbuster offered a free five-night rental along with the purchase of Spider-Man on DVD.

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