TULSA, Okla. -- A large-scale test of a new cart-mounted advertising medium at 220 Wal-Mart stores will mark a new opportunity for brand marketers to reach the giant retailer's customers through in-store messages.
ADDvantage Media Group here said this month that it had secured an agreement to install approximately 175,000 of its Shoppers Calculator devices on shopping cart handles at Wal-Marts throughout Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Each unit carries a 4-inch square printed advertising image.
Charles Hood, president of ADDvantage Media, described the devices as a "combination in-store advertising medium and customer service."
The go-ahead from Wal-Mart follows about two years of testing the units in nine selected stores, added Cindy Hood, ADDvantage Media vice president.
"This is the only in-store advertising program in Wal-Mart," she added. Shoppers Calculators will be mounted on every cart in each participating Wal-Mart, in numbers ranging from about 500 up to 1,200 per store, she said. Each participating advertisement will be placed on one-tenth of the carts for four-week flights, after which the images will be changed. Cost-per-thousand impressions is less than $4, she added.
Maureen Gustafson, Wal-Mart marketing manager, confirmed that the retailer was testing the Shoppers Calculator, but said
she could not confirm whether the calculators were the only in-store medium now active within the Bentonville, Ark.-based chain.
Installation of the units is about to commence, Gustafson said. "They are just now surveying the stores to determine the exact numbers required."
Hood said her company has spent close to $1 million researching the Shoppers Calculator. "When customers use a calculator to compute purchases, they spend more money," she said, and added that shoppers had a 73% ad recall when exposed to the devices in stores.
ADDvantage Media handles the installation and weekly maintenance of the units, which are manufactured by Texas Instruments to be weatherproof, durable and vandalproof, said Hood.
In Wal-Mart's case, ADDvantage Media sells the advertising. Resultant revenues are shared with Wal-Mart according to a formula Hood would not divulge.
The ads themselves are printed in fade-proof inks on plastic sheet stock, which is tear proof.
"We have them in some other grocery stores, including Affiliated Foods in Nebraska and some Krogers," she said. "Although in those cases they purchase the units outright and sell their own advertising." Hood added, "We are talking to other mass merchandisers."