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Putting Ads Where the Shoppers Are

Jun 1, 2008  •  Post A Comment

During the years I spent in the retail food industry, I noticed the sales power of hanging coupon dispensers on the shelf next to the brand-name product being discounted. Active buyers of that specific brand would notice the coupon on the shelf and use it immediately.
These coupons also served to counteract a competitive brand-name campaign, since the coupon at the point of purchase would motivate the loyal buyer to stick with his or her first choice.
When I later migrated from retail into television, I remembered the effect of these coupons and began to wonder why brand marketers could not find a way to also show their TV ads in the store, right next to the shelf containing their product. If done properly, wouldn’t in-store video create powerful recall of a national TV ad, right at the point of purchase?
It would be like putting a TV campaign on steroids.
The folks at ABC National New Media Sales have developed just such a system.
You may have been walking down the aisle and seen TV monitors exhorting the new flavor of Kool-Aid or the incredible absorption power of Bounty paper towels; if so, you have seen ABC’s out-of-home network in action.
I spoke this week with Dave Daniels, VP of ABC New Media Sales, about the in-store video concept and how it works.
TelevisionWeek: What companies have seen successful sell-through from this type of television?
Dave Daniels: ABC has created programs with Coke, Pepsi, Dannon, Masterfoods, Hershey, Campbell’s, Nestle and Kraft, among others.
TVWeek: How does this give the consumer a better shopping experience?
Mr. Daniels: Meijer [retail chain] shoppers seem to think so, and that’s of course the bottom line at ABC New Media Sales. In Arbitron’s survey, 86% felt that the in-store network at Meijer stores presents a good way to communicate useful information about sales, offers and promotions.
TVWeek: Why did ABC develop this concept?
Mr. Daniels: We had the resources and expertise Meijer needed, since we’d already been involved with out-of-home or place-based media since the early 1990s.
We’re currently working with many OOH networks—offering our advertising clients new and exciting ways to tap the power of television to reach their customers, while at the same time extending our own network brand. ABC was approached to provide video content that would be both highly engaging and appropriate for Meijer’s grocery and retail supercenter environment. ABC New Media Sales works closely with our ABC marketing colleagues and our longtime production partner, Met-Hodder of Minneapolis, to produce the in-store segments. In addition, ABC New Media Sales serves as the advertising sales representative to Newsight, Meijer’s third-party network operator.
TVWeek: How does the consumer react to this video screen in the store?
Mr. Daniels: The feedback ABC has reviewed on many different levels has been overwhelmingly positive, and momentum continues to build as in-store viewing becomes more an established part of the shopping experience at Meijer stores. Television has been most people’s primary source of news and entertainment for decades. So it’s only reasonable to expect that TVs located in other venues would attract considerable attention and interest.
An Arbitron study conducted for Newsight a while back set some benchmarks at Meijer stores, which we continue to build upon. It showed that 75% of shoppers noticed the screen, and 89% of them reacted positively. Interestingly, 30% of the shoppers said they made an unplanned purchase after seeing [a product] featured on the in-store network.
TVWeek: How does this exposure extend the national television brand campaign of, say, a consumer product like Bounty paper towels?
Mr. Daniels: Based on our work with many OOH advertising clients, ABC New Media Sales has certainly seen that a well-produced and targeted in-store network provides valuable impressions at the point of purchase and heightens sales of featured products. Whether that in-store messaging should be categorized as extension of a national TV brand campaign is still up for debate. Some consider it advertising; others call it merchandising. Right now, most agencies manage client messaging up to a retailer’s door, generally leaving in-store efforts to customer marketing managers and promotions. That may be changing as many large advertising agencies set up separate groups to tap nontraditional retail media.
While advertisers seem to be wary of the live-plus-seven program ratings because of the diminished effect of the delayed TV ad, the prospect of having their TV ad exposure, delayed or live, at an event or in a store elicits a more enthusiastic response.
Is there really such a difference? Isn’t a live or delayed television commercial exposure of a brand worth the same no matter when it is viewed? I think so.
So the final word on in-store video seems to be that taking your television video message to the street has a powerful effect. It stimulates recall, it extends the brand into the store level, it counteracts the campaigns of competing brands, it makes the consumer feel good about buying their brand and, maybe most important, it provides a measurable way to prove the power of television to create retail success.
Adam Armbruster is a senior partner with Red Bank, N.J.-based retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co. He can be reached at adam@esacompany.com or 941-928-7192.

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