Point-Of-Sale Upsets The Cart

Having spent a good many years in this business working for promotions agencies, the paragraphs below are certainly a pleasure to read, especially in the Journal.

Wall Street Journal: Proctor & Gamble Co. believes shoppers make up their mind about a product in about the time it takes to read this paragraph.
This “first moment of truth,” as P&G calls it, is the three to seven seconds when someone notices an item on a store shelf. Despite spending billions on traditional advertising, the consumer-products giant thinks this instant is one of its most important marketing opportunities. It created a position 18 months ago, Director of First Moment of Truth, or Director of FMOT, (pronounced “EFF-mott”) to produce sharper, flashier in-store displays. There’s a 15-person FMOT department at P&G headquarters in Cincinnati as well as 50 FMOT leaders stationed around the world.
P&G’s insight is helping to power a shift in the advertising business: the growth and increasing sophistication of in-store marketing. Almost a centruy ago, P&G popularized the concept of mass-market advertising. Now, in response to the fragmentation of televison and print ads, it wants to tout its brands directly to consumers where they’re most likely to be influenced: the store.
In part for this reason, the decades-old hierarchy that rules the ad industry is under assault. Previously, ad executives who designed TV commercials looked down on those who worked on in-store promotions. (my emphasis) Now, executives with retail experience are gaining clout as the world’s biggest advertising firms build up departments to handle an area in which they have little expertise.

Hopefully, the promo people can respond to this fortuitous sea change with more class than their above-the-line cohorts have shown.
On a related note, this paradigm shift neatly mirrors the emergence of blogs and podcasting, in that citizen’s media is also a ground up phenomenon. What smart brand managers are finally saying is let’s build our ad campaigns from the ground, or point-of-sale, up. The top down model, which has reigned supreme all these years, has allowed arrogance the air it needs. Building marketing campaigns from the ground up honors the customer, and makes the ad industry a degree more honest and a tad more humble—positive developments all.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.