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Since it relies on point-of-purchase advertising for the majority of its retail marketing efforts, Anheuser-Busch scrutinizes its POP ads to see if they drive impulse purchases and move more of its brands."We want to know whether our [point-of-sale] materials help sell more beer, plain and simple," Dan McHugh, director of sales promotion for the St. Louis-based brewer, told Brand Marketing.To do so,

Since it relies on point-of-purchase advertising for the majority of its retail marketing efforts, Anheuser-Busch scrutinizes its POP ads to see if they drive impulse purchases and move more of its brands.

"We want to know whether our [point-of-sale] materials help sell more beer, plain and simple," Dan McHugh, director of sales promotion for the St. Louis-based brewer, told Brand Marketing.

To do so, it regularly looks at ways to analyze its POP, both quantitatively and qualitatively. A big part of this effort is its participation in a five-year, multichannel study aimed at confirming how in-store ads work for a range of brands, assessing the consumer impressions delivered by POP and evaluating the incremental lift POP generates. Conducted by Point-of-Purchase Advertising International, Washington, and the Advertising Research Foundation, New York, the study is analyzing 94 brands in eight categories and at 250 stores. Established, restaged and new brands were examined for a minimum of 20 weeks each. Along with Anheuser-Busch, Procter & Gamble, Frito-Lay, Ralston-Purina, PepsiCo and Pfizer's Warner-Lambert Consumer Group are sponsors.

Just-released initial results from a three-wave supermarket phase show that POP advertising generated incremental sales increases ranging from 2% to 65% without any price reductions. The findings pertain to the first of the three waves: 30 brands analyzed in the beer, salty snack and ready-to-eat cereal categories. Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay and Procter & Gamble were the manufacturer sponsors.

Findings from the other two supermarket phases will be released on a monthly basis through the end of the year. After that, POPAI and ARF will move on to examining POP in convenience, mass and drug stores.

Anheuser-Busch is confident the study will help it understand which promotional tactics and merchandising vehicles generate the best lift for its brands.

"This research provided an opportunity to quantify our efforts and benchmark what we're doing at the retail level," McHugh said.

Anheuser-Busch is still breaking down and analyzing initial results to determine what they mean specifically for its beer brands. Based on a preliminary review, McHugh said data demonstrate the importance of POP ads in driving sales.

"It shows there's definitely a sales lift associated with thematic POP placement and execution," McHugh said.

Called "In-Store Advertising Becomes a Measured Medium," the study marks the first time that the $15 billion POP ad industry will have standards in place to measure POP advertising. Unlike print, radio and broadcast advertising, the POP ad industry is not a measured medium.

"The first wave of research makes it very clear that POP advertising has taken a giant step toward becoming a measured medium," said Dick Blatt, POPAI president.


"We see a significant potential for a sales drop if POP doesn't get up," added Paula Payton, POPAI's vice president of research.

As for areas of opportunity, Payton stressed the importance of base wrap, or ad messages on the bottom 12 to 14 inches of a display.

"What we find is that base wrap integrates a display," Payton noted.

POPAI was most surprised with results that showed that the main shelf typically doesn't benefit from POP ads as much as other areas of the store. One reason for this may be that consumers who see main-shelf POP typically planned to buy the product anyway, so it doesn't have as much of an effect as other types of POP.

Along with Anheuser-Busch, other sponsors said the study will help them take their in-store marketing campaigns to the next level. Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay, for instance, will leverage the data to enhance the shoppers' in-store exper-ience, according to Lora De Vuono, vice president of retail and corporate marketing.

"At Frito-Lay, we continue to work on improving our retail marketing campaigns by increasing our understanding of what is most effective at the store level," De Vuono said.

Teresa May, senior manager of customer marketing solutions at Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, agreed.


"We believe it's important to measure the return on our POP investment to most efficiently leverage our in-store spending," May said.

Anheuser-Busch maintains a strong lineup of POP elements in all of its retail marketing programs. Each ad used must be able to penetrate different trade channels and store formats. The brewer plans to use the results as a guide to determine whether it needs to offer certain POP elements more than others.

"Having solid third-party research and data will help us go in the right direction," McHugh said. "As we analyze the data, we will break down the areas of execution and implement some changes based on the data gathered."

Results for the second wave will cover 20 brands in the dog food and cough/cold categories. Pfizer's Warner-Lambert Consumer Group and Ralston-Purina are the manufacturer participants. The final wave involves 45 brands in the laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner and carbonated soft drink categories. Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo are the sponsors.

"It's important to remember that these are the initial results of findings from a much larger supermarket phase study and, while there are important eye-openers for everyone in the POP profession in our preliminary results, there is more to come," said Payton. Industry executives stressed, though, that the preliminary data is a big step forward. Andrew Edelman, POPAI's chairman of the board, said that while approaches used in the study will be further developed and refined, "there is no question that this is an enormous leap forward in eventually transforming the way we do business in POP advertising."

Jim Spaeth, president of the ARF, added that the study provides "the basic data and processes necessary to create, for the first time, a real media mix that will enable everyone to realize POP's true value."

Project management for the study was provided by Prime Consulting. Information Resources Inc. provided syndicated and store-information data.

Learning From The Pop Study

Initial results from "In-Store Advertising Becomes a Measured Medium" show that P-O-P advertising generated incremental sales.

Brand signage in one category resulted in a sales increase of 2%.

Sales increased by 12% with the addition of base wrap.

Sales increased by 27% when a standee was added.

Sales increased by 40% through the addition of an inflatable/mobile.

Sales increased by 65% when a sign was added that communicated the brand's tie-in with a sport, movie or charity.

In the sample, the potential reach per store ranged from 2,300 to 8,000 shoppers per week, depending on store size and volume.

Signage was seen at more than 90% of secondary displays. But manufacturer preprinted signs only occurred on 13% to 35% of displays. Supermarket chains varied significantly in terms of how much POP was found in their stores.

When advertising appeared at the product display, it was found at the main shelf only between 22% and 35% of the time.

35% of all salty snack product displays stocked outside main selling aisle were supported by POP ads.

The most common form of POP in the salty snack category was a "branded shipper," accounting for 20% of all unique salty-snack display observations.

When a branded shipper was in place in the salty snack category, the addition of wobblers/danglers yielded a total sales increase of 10%; floor graphics, 12%; motion displays, as well as inflatables/mobiles, 15%.