It is not unusual for creative directors to become close to their
work. It is, however, unusual to find creative directors prowling the
aisles of their local supermarket and rearranging display units so their
work has maximum impact for passing shoppers.
Martin Grimer, creative director at design agency Coley Porter Bell, can
lay claim to such compulsive behaviour. When Grimer worked on the
packaging design for multi-packs of Foster’s, he admits to turning
around the packs in-store to ensure both sides - one with a Foster’s
logo and the other with imagery linking the Amber Nectar campaign - were
Grimer’s concern about how the product appears in-store illustrates the
relentless quest for shelf stand-
out among brand owners. But for manufacturers who invest in expensive
packaging design and promotional material, the first battle is securing
This problem is most acute in the supermarket sector. According to Simon
Singleton, head of events and promotions at Asda, the company has
reduced the number of promotions running in-store by more than half to
focus on its roll-back campaign, offering ’permanently low prices’.
Taking its cue from the US
Asda is taking its cue from US parent company Wal-Mart and concentrating
on price, rather than ’gimmicky, fluffy promotions which offer the
customer little of genuine value,’ says Singleton. This strategy is
likely to be adopted by the rest of the multiples as price becomes the
battleground on which supermarkets compete.
David Eslick, head of customer planning at Britvic, agrees that it is
increasingly difficult for branded material to get the go-ahead from
grocery multiples. ’Retailers are looking to take the complexity out of
their business by reducing the number of promotions. They see individual
campaigns as adding to the complexity of the shopper’s experience and
that applies across all categories,’ says Eslick.
The retail environment may not be as accommodating as it once was, but
brand owners are as aware as ever of the importance of ’retail
Research undertaken by Mori, published last month, endorses the fact
that point of purchase displays drive purchase (see box, page 43). And
as online shopping in the grocery sector becomes a reality,
manufacturers will have to work even harder to ensure the retail
experience adds value.
Innovative display units and promotional offers are one clear way of
establishing that point of difference. But the dichotomy between
manufacturers’ and retailers’ objectives means that POP is having to
work even harder to earn its place on the shop floor.
Cadbury is one company with plenty of experience at securing fixture
displays. Every Cadbury promotion is supported by POP, which represents
around 15% of all below- the-line spend. ’Cadbury has been investing a
lot in TV in the past 12 months and this has to be underlined in-store,’
says Cadbury’s in-store marketing manager, Paul Clarke.
Cadbury Easter Creme Egg campaign extended the ’How do you eat yours?’
theme of the TV execution below the line with interactive Creme Egg dump
bins placed in-store. When customers pressed a button, flashing red
lights passed through a series of options before settling on a chosen
method for eating a Creme Egg.
According to Clarke, the campaign worked in-store because the units,
designed and developed by SCA, were both innovative and low maintenance
for the retailer. The batteries, for example, lasted throughout the
four-month period that the units were in-store, making them as
retailer-friendly as possible.
However, Clarke admits that most promotions involve a much harder
A Cadbury’s multi-brand promotion which ran earlier in the year,
offering customers the chance to win tickets to the official MTV party,
faced competition from Nestle’s Chunky Kit-Kat dump bins in-store.
’There is now such competition in the confectionery sector. For years,
we had it our own way and were leading the field in terms of retail
Now Nestle is investing a lot more. You have to keep innovating and sell
in hard,’ confirms Clarke.
This sell in is likely to be greeted more favourably by the retailer if
it includes activity tailored only to its stores. London-based agency
Triangle handles all promotional activity for Safeway and recently
launched a separate business, called The Storm Agency, to work on its
Enhance the offer
Kevin Twittey, chairman of Triangle, confirms that Safeway is always
looking at how it can enhance the offer for its shoppers. ’Nine out of
ten promotional applications are bespoke to Safeway,’ he says. ’The
company is very focused on the benefits to its shoppers and is always
looking to add something extra.’
By building strong links with a retailer and understanding their
business and brand values, manufacturers have a much stronger chance of
getting their material sited.
’When we talk to our clients about gaining display, we say that it’s
about knowing how each retailer works, what their current issues are and
going through a checklist to maximise the chances of getting it sited,’
says Nick Cunningham, director at marketing agency Dynamo, which counts
Tesco, Coca-Cola and Heinz among its clients (see box, above).
At Asda, Singleton describes himself as the gate-keeper for all brand
activity that takes place in-store. He identifies the two most important
factors against which any campaign must deliver as seasonal relevance
and the promise of a genuine offer.
’If, for example, a beer brand approached us with a campaign which
offered customers a one in a thousand chance to win tickets to a World
Cup campaign, we’d say no. Everyone has to have a good chance of winning
something,’ says Singleton.
A recent News International tie-up is a good example of a campaign which
benefited both parties as well as the consumer.
Nine consecutive issues of The Sun and The News of the World carried
tokens. By collecting seven out of the nine tokens, customers were
invited to come into an Asda store to collect a free Simpsons video.
’The promotion was easy to access and not gimmicky,’ says Singleton.
Running in-store links
Similarly, a Guinness campaign currently running in-store links with the
Rugby World Cup features a giant POP unit styled as rugby posts. The
campaign, through Triangle, offers a free inflatable armchair with
pockets to hold a can of Guinness when customers buy two 12-packs.
So, if marketers are to stand any chance of getting their POP sited
in-store, they must first ensure the customer offer is credible. It is
also likely to tip the balance in their favour if the activity is linked
to a larger proposition with guaranteed pull.
Britvic is lucky in this respect. Its Robinsons portfolio has
established links with Disney and Pepsi and enjoys the support of global
promotional tie-ups such as The Spice Girls and, most recently, Star
Robinson’s autumn campaign, through Communicator, links with the latest
Disney blockbuster, Tarzan, and offers customers free Tarzan merchandise
through an on-pack collector mechanic. The promotion is supported by TV
advertising through HHCL, and supermarkets including Sainsbury’s,
Somerfield, Asda, Morrisons and Safeway have agreed to run themed
’Because of the category we operate in, Britivic brands have to focus on
theatre in-store,’ says Eslick. ’Although it is harder for manufacturers
to get promotional slots, retailers still respond to new, genuinely
CHECKLIST FOR POP
- How strong is the promotional offer?
- Will it fit in but stand out?
- Is the unit easy to assemble?
- Can we send in people to assemble and merchandise it correctly?
- Should we create a self-merchandised unit?
- How can we incentivise the manager and/or staff to merchandise the
- How good is our write-up in the internal activity briefing sheet?
- What store support can we add into our total package?
- Is our in-store offer part of a much bigger national initiative?
- Can we build traffic to our fixture?
A study into the nation’s shopping habits carried out by MORI on behalf
of Kesslers International revealed that the public still views in-store
shopping as having key advantages over the internet.
- Customers are concerned about credit card fraud over the internet and
like to interact with products before making the final decision to
Two-thirds of consumers are ’unlikely’ or ’certain not to’ buy from the
internet in the future.
- 53% believe displays would prompt them to buy on impulse and 74% said
displays alert their attention to new or improved products in-store.
- 94% of consumers are keen to see information accompanying products on
- The products most likely to be bought as an impulse purchase in-store
are food and drink (30%), videos (27%), sunglasses (21%) and make-up
- Two-thirds of shoppers say they always stop and look at special
displays when they are shopping and 70% buy, or consider buying, on
impulse as a result of seeing products displayed.
- Women are more likely than men both to stop and look at special
displays (76% compared with 52% men) and to be interested in seeing the
other products on display (93% compared with 76%).
- 49% of respondents believe that the whole shopping experience will
become more exciting as shops and displays introduce new technologies.
This article was first published on Marketing