Monday, June 26, 2006

AdAge articles indicate mixed emotions on in-store advertising

Over the past few months, writers and editors at Advertising Age have been penning articles for and against (and to be honest, mostly against) all nature of in-store advertising, claiming that its relative newness when compared to traditional above-the-line formats like TV, print and radio advertising, made it less desirable than some in the industry would leave you to believe. While I've speculated in the past that the bouts of negativity coming from this well-respected (and widely read) publication are probably a knee-jerk reaction to anything that could potentially pull money away from well-established and understood media buying practices, there do appear to be some signs that they may become more comfortable with the idea of in-store as a medium.

The day after I published a blog article on measuring retail media that featured an AdAge article that casts in-store advertising in a fairly negative light, the same author, Mya Frazier, published a much more balanced piece talking about the growth of the in-store medium. While I'm certain that the timing was just a coincidence, I do think that an increasing number of people are starting to take notice of AdAge's traditionally negative attitude towards below-the-line marketing tactics, even when these are some of the most quickly growing segments of the advertising industry. As Frazier notes:

The audience reach is staggering. Kroger is launching a TV ad network in its 2,500 stores in partnership with In-Store Broadcasting Network. The Kroger network "delivers more reach and frequency than the largest radio station in the country," says Evan Anthony, Kroger's VP-marketing and advertising. Wal-Mart Stores, in partnership with Premiere Retail Networks, boasts its TV network reaches 130 million viewers per four-week cycle.

Of course, there is still room for doubt in this relatively new medium. To get some info on that, Frazier turns to Mediaedge:cia, a well-respected member of the in-store marketing community:

Marketers still aren't sure which way to measure the medium, whether by sales spurts or brand awareness. "It is being held to a higher standard, probably because it's new," says David Sommers, managing director of MEC Retail, the in-store unit of Mediaedge:cia. Additionally, major marketers, particularly package-goods companies, are trying to figure out how to take advantage of it.

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