One Task. Many Mediums.

After picking up U.S. consumer promotion and co-marketing duties on the Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Senseo and Sara Lee brands, Lisa Hurwitz, senior VP-business development and marketing at Arc Worldwide, said:

“Retail is really the new consumer battleground. So you have a captive audience in the shopper and figuring out how to capture her attention at retail has become a real critical point for marketers, and [our] expertise at that point of retail is one of our key differentiators and something that really attracted Sara Lee” to the agency.”

Whoa. As a pitch, “We do POS really well” is about as lame as another TV-heavy media plan. Promotions agencies need to build relationships with prospects and buyers, just like ad agencies, interactive agencies and the rest must do. For point of sale to truly work, all the other points of contact must be aligned.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Exactly. That “captive audience” the V.P. refers to most certainly doesn’t want to FEEL like a captive. As you pointed out, it’s an opportunity to engage the consumer and try to build a relationship through other mediums. The whole “captive audience” mindset is as dated as the eggs at Seven Eleven (which now have bad CBS ads printed on them).

  2. theo kie says:

    Where in Arc’s comments did they say all the points aren’t going to align? This is the in-store promotions business being awarded, and that’s Arc’s focus. In their world, it is a “captive audience” – people in the supermarket, shopping for groceries.
    There seems to be a need to look down the nose at anyone who specializes in anything other than the cool, new land of the internet – a medium which has yet to prove itself able to drive sales like the loathed, “old-fashioned” advertising mediums.
    Let’s also not forget, the internet audience is still a mostly young, mostly white, mostly single (or childless) group with time on their hands. None of which describes Sara Lee’s key audience – the middle-American mom with kids and a job and very few minutes left over to waste online.

  3. kids and a job?
    kids, a home, and a life?
    who has that? what the hell do any of us have that’s worth that?
    ask yourself those questions? then market it. hahaha
    laughable. you think any of us have even any direction?
    you think anything like that is gonna make this dang life worth living? yea? then go brand it. and come back here tomorrow and ask the same dang questions.
    again and again and again.

  4. Theo,
    I assure you I’m not looking down at Arc, nor their in store specialization. I work for a firm that does POS, which is why I know it’s not just about POS. It’s also about the perceptions a consumer brings with her to the store. Ergo, in-store advertising needs to work with whatever other programming a brand has in play.
    All I’m saying, is ask for a seat at the brand’s table. You may or may not get it, but the understanding of what goes into a successful transaction is a must.
    In my view, no one, in any particular silo, can stand around and say, “Damn, there’s nothing wrong with my silo, I’m gonna make millions with this thing.”

  5. //Let’s also not forget, the internet audience is still a mostly young, mostly white, mostly single (or childless) group with time on their hands.//
    My 65-year-old-mother-of-four-internet-addicted Mom has no comment. Neither do her thousands of email and blog contacts.

  6. theo kie says:

    Okay, so I was grumpy last night. We agree on the point that everyone needs to be at the table. Last week I was writing big, sixty-second brand image spots. Today I’m writing package copy for a startup. Being on the ground floor with the startup makes package copy more of a challenge – and, in many ways, far more interesting a project – than the TV spots.
    Bob, my point shouldn’t have revolved around age. Let me put it another way. The key target for Sara Lee doesn’t spend time “social connecting” on the internet, because they’re busy with raising kids, going to work and being the glue that holds everything together.
    I’m guessing your mother isn’t juggling a full-time job with children at home, in school, etc.. So she, like the younger internet audience, has had the time time to make thousands of internet contacts.

  7. yo Okie?
    You know, I don’t work in an office. Last time I did that the internet wasn’t even invented yet… in Germany.
    Anyways,(transitional device) at the locker room after my workout, I listen to stories and stuff that people get in their emails and saw online. Most of these people are at an office doing 8 hours of meaningful work. Yet, they come straight to the pool at 6pm from work and tell me what they got in their email and what they saw on the net today. I mean what else should we talk about besides the hot new guy in the green speedo?
    Tell me, do they allow that kind of stuff at work? (the surfing/not the speedos.)
    A stay home person/wannabe freelancer artsy type/internet junkie wants to know in case I ever do get some real jobs.