Thursday, June 26, 2008

Get em while they are ...conflicted?

This news story about in-store prescription drug advertising in a store in New Jersey is interesting. Firstly, it's rare to see in store advertising for a product that you cannot buy in the store. In this case you need to "Ask to your doctor if Vytorin is right for you". But why not? We keep saying in store advertising is strategic as well as tactical.

But more interesting is this statement from Schering-Plough: "Since supermarkets are where people routinely make choices about which food to buy, we believe this was a good place to engage consumers with education on high cholesterol". Hmmm. I wonder what impact "education on high cholesterol" has on their food choices. I would love to see how sales of chips have been recently. But I like the idea. The possibilities are endless. We could see Advil ads at the Beer Store. The most radical application would be communication from World Vision or anti-hunger activists in the cookie or snack aisles. Not sure how many retailers would go for that though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Very Canadian Piece of Advertising

There is quite a bit of talk about the Shreddies "Diamond" campaign. It may have won some award (who apart from those in advertising keep track of those?).

I have to say there is something very Canadian about it. As a transplanted Brit in Canada I cannot help observing the national character. Humour is a great Canadian export. But compared to the British bitter sarcasm and almost pathological need to mock the powerful Canadian humour is relatively gentle ...yet still subversive.

That is why I think this campaign fits the national character. It mocks and deflates the pretensions of marketing and advertising but in quite a gentle and flippant way. I especially appreciate the mockery of qualitative research in the video....rainbow scale.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Green Agreement for IRI and TNS

This is a very interesting initiative and should yield a lot of good insight into how 'green consumers' behave.

Most importantly for researchers it should also validate the TNS consumer segments (which are based on attitude and claimed behaviour). This will show whether those who talk green and say that they are buying green are actually doing it.

We are swimming in data about 'green consumers' but none of it really addresses the behaviour gap between action and sentiment. And there is a big gap.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shopper Insights Research is Good Research

One of the things that appeals to me about researching shopper behaviour or shopper insights is that it necessitates that researchers do things that we should probably do in most of our research.

There is so much discussion about how research into branding and communication is relying way too much on cognitively processed responses and is missing the subtle, low involvement processing and emotions that actually motivate behaviour.

And of course those who have relied on those cognitively processed responses for years (and have large and valuable normative databases of them) are saying they are still valid.

That debate doesn’t even get started with shopper research. We know the decisions are based on “thin slice judgments”. We know that much decision-making is not cognitively processed and often does not even reach our consciousness. We know that 80% of the media in store is not even seen let alone engaged with.

Once that has been accepted we can approach researching the subject based on observation, transactional data and methods that avoid cognitively processed and rationalized responses based on respondent recall. These are good things.

Researchers have avoided the mechanics of the consumer decision for years because it is well, hard. We will evaluate a brand or communication piece and then add the caveat that we don’t know how it will actually play in the market because of er….”market factors”. This has undermined the value of research. Shopper insights research forces us to face up to those “market factors” and really try to understand how the purchase decision is made. This is genuinely new territory and ultimately will increase the value of market research.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The tragic world of Canadian marketing ...

***FLASH*** - No Canadian wins in Direct or Promo Lions

I thought this headline was some kind of joke. But it's not. Sometimes it is depressing working in Canada.

I wonder what else "no Canadian" has done today ....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shopper Marketing Talkfest: Provide Your Feedback on a Shopper Insights Community

Usually I disapprove of people conducting DIY surveys without paying me or my colleagues large fees for our expertise but in this case I can forgive. Shopper Marketing Talkfest is collecting opinions of those interested in shopper insights:

Shopper Marketing Talkfest: Provide Your Feedback on a Shopper Insights Community

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shopper Metrics

As the retail channel becomes more considered as a communication channel the need for metrics to measure its effectiveness increases. Brand marketing people like measurement and they want to see the same kind of measures that are available for other media.

Two different initiatives are being developed to deliver this:

MARI (Marketing At Retail Initiative) is being developed by Sheridan Global in conjunction with POPAI. Sheridan Global provide the technology and analysis for what they have described as a large scale syndicated qualitative piece. The focus of this is on shopper engagement. How much do shoppers see the marketing material in the store and most significantly how much do they pay attention to it and ultimately buy the product?

This initiative really focuses on the success of different in-store executions in engaging shoppers. Consider it the Millward Brown equivalent for in store.

MARI has been initiated in a few markets including US and UK. A good white paper on it is here:

P.R.I.S.M. (Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric) is being developed by Nielsen in conjunction with the In Store Marketing Institute. This is much more focused on providing a media metric and involves a lot more robust traffic counting within stores. So far work has only been done in the US. This aims to provide measurement for instore media. Consider it the in store equivalent of Nielsen ratings.

A good presentation providing an introduction and analysis of early results is here:

And a good evaluation of the impact of PRISM here from Shopper Culture:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Shopper Enjoyment"

Well, it was fairly easy setting this thing up.

My first content ....

We have just completed a piece of research on Canadian grocery shoppers that shows that ....wait for it....people actually really enjoy grocery shopping. Most people. Including men (who actually do a lot more shopping than you might suspect)....

I recently spoke to some experts in retail and shopper understanding who found the concept of "shopper enjoyment" ridiculous. I guess we do not hear much about "TV enjoyment" or "movie enjoyment". Firstly it's a given that TV and movies are "enjoyed" and secondly the idea of these media as monoliths is silly. Some TV is enjoyed and some is not. Some shopping is enjoyed. Some is not. Some aspects of watching TV are enjoyed. Others are not. The same is true for shopping.

The fact that people enjoy grocery shopping may not be groundbreaking news but it is something I think needs to be stated as it provides a necessary framework to the notion of the retail channel as a media channel. That notion has become increasingly popular recently as marketers desperately seek some space in which they can speak to consumers. The mindset of the shopper has often been viewed as rational, harassed and well, focused on getting the heck out of the store. The fact that the shopper is actually engaged in a form of entertainment should at least inform the kind of communication that is effective in this channel.