Magazine article Marketing

Helen Dickinson on Retail: In-Store TV Is an Advertiser Turn-Off

Magazine article Marketing

Helen Dickinson on Retail: In-Store TV Is an Advertiser Turn-Off

Article excerpt

There has been plenty of hype surrounding in-store TV, but it seems to me that there isn't as much of it in the shops as you might think. Yes, there are video loops advertising the latest car-cleaning gadgets running endlessly at DIY and hardware stores, but there is so much more to the medium than this crude level of marketing.

State-of-the-art in-store TV involves complex content management, big plasma screens and programming that is tailored to screens in specific areas of the store. The technology has certainly been proven and there is a mass of competing hardware and software available.

There is also no doubt that locating screens in high-footfall locations such as supermarkets and shopping malls provides a seriously broad reach.

However, the challenge of some implementations has been to attract brands to advertise, just as with traditional TV. Retailers have built the business case for in-store TV on attracting ad revenue from other areas of a marketer's budget that would probably have gone on above-the-line advertising. So the returns need to be visible.

Research by behaviour specialist Shoppercentric found that while customers are broadly positive about in-store screens, two-thirds of regular shoppers failed to even notice the TV screens in Tesco stores. And research by one major brand found that only 15% of customers could be bothered to glance up at the screens.

With little hard evidence of effectiveness, many brands have been reluctant to pour big money into in-store TV. They have preferred to continue funding more traditional in-store marketing activities such as six-sheet posters, shelf danglers and gondola-end promos.

Maybe it is not surprising, then, that retailers are reassessing the role of in-store TV. For Tesco, this has meant reducing the rates it charges for ads, and considering allowing an ad to be shown simultaneously on all the screens across its 100 stores that have in-store TV.

While such an approach might be good for advertising brands whose products or services are not available in-store (such as Volkswagen, which wants to use the medium to raise awareness), it presents another set of programming challenges.

Who is really going to go off in search of a product they have just seen advertised on a screen right down the other end of the store? Ads should be shown only in the aisles where the featured goods are located. …

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