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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shelve the idea of Shelf Ads

Shelve the idea of Shelf Ads?

AdAge reports that some CPG marketers [coco-cola, Colgate - Palmolive] have signed up to test a new product in-store, the ‘POP Broadcasting’s ShelfAds device’. The device is placed on product shelves and plays 10 second ads when it detects movement. According to the article, current in-store video promotions are issue-ridden. The article indicates " -- that shoppers must look up to view ads on giant, expensive plasma screens and that the ads never stop." I agree—though it doesn’t probably help that I am a lousy shopper whose usual aim is to get out of any store ASAP. But the article brought back an interesting chapter in the Paco Underhill book “Why we buy?”. The chapter “Why we read a sign” elaborates on the placement of signs and boards, and the most logical places for them. While I find myself noticing most ads online, I seem to conveniently ignore the ones that are in-store. Above the babble of noise, the constant announcements on the speaker and the humming of a super-huge departmental store, I find it easier to walk to the products and just zip out. POP ShelfAds probably has a ton of Paco Underhill type of research done to evaluate the appropriate placement of the ads and the best ads to run on them as well.  But I, for one, would not be particularly thrilled or influenced by an ad for Cheetos while I pick Lays [well, the novelty of motion induced video will wear off soon as well]. Supermarkets have largely been a place to pick up stuff at, not a place to dawdle much. Look at the checkout lines at most of these places—most are in a hurry to beat that in anycase!

Call me old-fashioned, but my best in-store experiences have always involved people, not ads. Some great places that I’ve enjoyed shopping at, have, unfortunately, been smaller ones as well [Trader Joe’s, Bath and Body works, for example]. The friendly lady who picks out the cheese that she thinks will go very well with my wine, the attendant who tells me how she takes the honey-lotion everywhere. Somehow I would find it easier to trust them than blatant ads, plus I am getting some real-time feedback as well. The stores can afford them due to their size; supermarkets would need a person for every aisle if this idea has to work. However, my senses have been regularly been assaulted by the sheer number of brands and logos that are around me in the bigger places as well. Where I do think the ShelfAds would make sense would be for the apparel market—show me the clothes you got on a model on TV, I would definitely be interested. But CPG? I don’t think so. But, like I said, I aint the ideal supermarket shopper anyway.

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