Magazine article Marketing

Point of Purchase: Quick-Sell TV

Magazine article Marketing

Point of Purchase: Quick-Sell TV

Article excerpt

As Tesco rolls out in-store TV, brands could be tempted away from more traditional POP.

'The birth of a new medium' is how Tesco TV's sales house JCDecaux is billing the installation of screens in the supermarket's 100 biggest stores from next month.

Strictly speaking, in-store TV as a point-of-purchase (POP) tool is nothing new - as anyone who has inched forward in a Post Office queue while watching ads will testify. But while many supermarkets have toyed with it, Tesco is the first to take the leap of faith and install 40 to 50 screens in each store, albeit after a tentative 10 months interviewing 8000 customers.

Tesco's rivals, POP agencies and advertisers are now watching intently to see whether in-store TV will become the medium to capitalise on that POP mantra that '75% of buying decisions are made at point of purchase' - or whether it will be just another ambient media edited out by harassed shoppers or one which, worse still, irritates them.

According to JCDecaux, most of the UK's top ten advertisers think it is worth the risk and have expressed interest in Tesco TV - although how many have committed to the pounds 50,000 rate-card price for a two-week campaign is not known.

The main attraction for marketers is Tesco's weekly 'audience' of 10m shoppers, who can be targeted not 13 hours away from a purchasing decision at home watching TV, but in the 'last 10ft' of the shopping experience.

Marketers can choose the 'zone' they wish to appear in, from grocery and health and beauty, through to the cafe. Screens in these zones are small, shelf-based and have sound. Bigger notice board-style screens located in the 'power aisle' - the central aisle from which others are accessed - will initially be available only to Tesco to flag up its own promotions.

Clients need to create tailor-made ads or promotions for the screens, as shoppers will not stop to absorb the subtleties of a conventional 30-second TV execution. Content can be either shorter versions of TV ads or an infomercial, such as 'how to make the perfect Pimms' - an example used in Tesco's trials.

In terms of effects on sales, trials in six Spar stores last November were impressive. Scottish Courage, Diageo, Unilever, News International and Weetabix signed up for the test, run by in-store specialist IQ Group.

Weetabix opted for generic brand-building ads and saw a 10% rise in volume sales, while Guinness witnessed a 23% increase in volume. However, the real success story was a buy one get one free offer for Unilever's I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, which achieved a volume uplift of 44%.

So why not roll out TV right now? The cautious response of Simon Fisher, Spar's advertising and promotions manager, typifies the stance of many retailers. 'We are looking at in-store TV and radio,' he says, 'but it's a significant investment.'

Despite a 2003 survey from POP industry body POPAI showing that a third of respondents believed in-store TV will be mainstream within three years, caution is the watchword. It was impossible to find a client or agency that believes TV will replace traditional POP, but relatively easy to unearth concerns about a medium yet to prove its worth.

'There are lots of question marks,' says P&G head of UK media Bernard Balderston. 'How effective will it be? What will it look like? It's very much a 'wait and see' medium at the moment and it's too expensive.'

David McEvoy, marketing director at JCDecaux, responds: 'It might be expensive in terms of cost per 1000, but we are measuring sales rather than eyeballs and Tesco might record 20m transactions a week. Most media agencies are just getting to grips with this new media currency.'

Tim Beaumont, head of sales and marketing at agency Ida, said his clients are confused about how much control Tesco, or other retailers, will allow them over content. 'The big fight is over who owns the content, who creates it and the power brands have over it,' explains Beaumont. …

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