Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When digital signs leave a bad taste in your mouth... or something

Ran into two articles that seem to fit well together.

The first comes from The Consumerist, where reader Grey was confronted (and affronted) by a shelf-edge signage system for Bumblebee Tuna:
This absurd Bumblebee Tuna display was jutting into the isle at my local Safeway. It had a black screen, single silver button, and a card stock sign demanding I "push the button." Out of nothing more than utter disbelief and morbid curiosity I bow to the will of the sign.

"Will it start talking to me, the grocery store shopper?" I wonder. "Perhaps it will suggest some Tuna-themed dish for me to prepare for dinner tonight?" No. Instead I see the lowest resolution version of some 30 second, made for TV ad I'd ever seen.

The guy sounds a little whiny, and is obviously saddled with a either a serious TV addiction or else a terribe lack of willpower if the mere presence of the diminunitive screen was enough to "force" him to push the button or see what happens. That aside though, the remainder of his complaint is completely valid. 30-second TV spots have no place at the shelf-edge, especially if/when they rely on audio and will be presented on a postage stamp-sized display. Kudos to Bumblebee and SmartSource for taking  a stab at low-power and presumably low-cost digital shelf-edge advertising, but guys, seriously, you need to do a lot better. At least bundle some coupons with the thing. If you want a laugh, I recommend you read the comment thread attached to that article at The Consumerist.

The inanity of the Bumblebee display must have primed my brain because when I ran into this article at Advertising Lab it seemed like it might as well have come from the same company. Straight out of the what-were-they-thinking department of RightGuard's R&D lab comes this inspired idea to put digital advertising not where one might purchase the product, but where one might actually use the product.  That's right, we're talking about armpit advertising!  Awful puns aside (and there are lots of them), there's really not much else I can say about this. In fact, I think the expression of the woman on the left pretty much says it all...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Putting signs between you and your fix

First Dave Haynes notes the creation of a new smoothie vending machine with digital screens attached and now this (from Engadget):
While it's still a concept, [Douwe Egberts]'s so-called BeMoved coffee machine promises to finally bring the disparate worlds of hot beverages and motion control together at last, and do nothing short of raise "human interaction with a coffee machine to a higher level" in the process. Because, really, you can never truly feel close to a coffee machine until it's taunted you to jump up and down to fill your cup of joe. Of course, you can also do some slightly more practical things like tailor your coffee exactly the way you like using the massive touchscreen, and even check up on the weather and news while you wait.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Online Ads Not Working for You? Blame the Creative

Digital: Online Ads Not Working for You? Blame the Creative - Advertising Age - Digital

Something we've harped on for a long time over at WireSpring is the need for great content on your digital signage systems. Too often, people blame their network failures (and there have been many of these over the years) on cost management, technology problems, unwilling advertisers and dozens of other things, when in reality the real problem was that their content wasn't compelling, and consequently their network wasn't achieving its goals.

We're not alone in this problem, as the above-linked AdAge article explains:

It's bad creative that makes online advertising ineffective, so stop obsessing over targeting and placements, according to a study from online-ad-research group Dynamic Logic.

After analyzing the highest and lowest performers from its database of more than 170,000 online ads, the Millward Brown company determined that creative factors such as persistent branding, strong calls to action and even human faces -- and not super-targeted or high-profile ad placements -- make for better ad recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.

Simply put, an ad is only as strong as its weakest links, and according to the Dynamic Logic study, that weakest link is frequently the quality of the creative itself. Not planning, not placement, not measurement, but content.

Digital signage content producers and ad network owners need to keep this in mind when deciding how to apportion their budgets. Don't leave enough in for good creative, and you might be deploying a very expensive, very failure-prone network.

In-Store Marketing Beats Traditional Ads

In-Store Marketing Beats Traditional Ads, according to a new survey conducted by the National Research Network on shopper marketing firm Miller Zell’s behalf. The study notes:

Nearly a third (32 percent) of the 999 shoppers polled online in March said that in-store marketing is "very effective." Only 27 percent said the same about ads living outside of the store.

The report, which is part three of the “Gone in 2.3 Seconds: Capturing Shoppers with Effective In-Store Triggers Series,” found that the shopping experience is crucial for marketers. Sixty-nine percent of those polled called the in-store experience a “make or break” scenario. While 65 percent of shoppers are making lists, brand decisions are still being made at the store, according to 60 percent of respondents.

End-aisle displays are the most engaging according to 70 percent of those polled, followed by merchandising displays (62 percent), and department signage (58 percent). Ceiling banners and overhead mobiles have the least impact.

Shelf strips (55 percent) and shelf blades (50 percent) have become more important, especially among the Gen X and Gen Y crowds, who feel the more information the better, per the report. Overall, women and Gen Y consumers were most influenced by in-store marketing efforts.
I don't really have any commentary to add here -- the results more or less speak for themselves, and in my mind make a lot of sense. We continue to see data posted indicating that in-store marketing is a must-have component of any CPG marketing mix, and certainly big guys like P&G have been pouring resources into making their in-store presence more effective. While one might treat data compiled on behalf of a company that stands to profit for them as suspect, I think in this instance we're seeing further corroboration of past studies and common sense understanding of how marketing at retail works.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Now THAT's a digital sign!

Repurposing vacant storefront windows as giant pedestrian-level digital signage is all well and good.  But what about those times when you want to be seen from more than just a few feet away? Well, if you're pharma giant Bayer, you just cover your entire ex-headquarters building with LEDs and turn the whole thing into a gigantic digital billboard that can be seen from miles away. Pics and videos courtesy of Engadget's article on the matter:

(here's the YouTube link for anyone viewing through Bloglines)

... and if you're fluent in German and tech, here's an explanation of how the whole thing was put together:

(youtube link)