from Lynda Edge, CEO, Headcount, Chertsey, Surrey

new media must keep it short and sweet

from David Williams, Partner, IQ Group, Mere, Cheshire

Sir; Nick Widdowson’s concise summary (Saturday Essay, The Grocer, August 14, p22) of the relationship between new media and traditional POP contains the observation that a key advantage of instore screens is their guarantee of compliance.
Later he also reasons that “digital POP cannot operate in isolation” and that digital and traditional POP will complement one another. I agree and would add that, as screens become more prevalent in retail environments, ensuring compliance for conventional POP will become more critical. If a screen promotion is created to run alongside other material, its message will be weakened or lost if that material is absent.
Even retail staff who are committed to a brand may have too many demands on their time to ensure compliance at the right time. And digital media enables campaigns to be timed to the second.
Brands can gain advantage by allocating resource to this matter, whether their own staff or a field marketing partner, and this will be even more the case as screen use develops.
Sir; Nick Widdowson’s Saturday Essay (Instore TV is not TV, The Grocer, August 14, p22) hit the nail on the head. Using the term ‘instore TV’ to describe digital media networks gives a very misleading message about the medium, which has nothing to do with TV.
As we have learnt from our trial in Spar, the format and content of promotional messages aimed at shoppers are very different from those delivered by television. Dwell times in a busy retail outlet simply do not allow for lengthy, complicated messages to be disseminated via instore screens; the clips must be short and simple.
The trial has also shown that the positioning of screens in stores and the positioning of TV screens for mass consumption, for example in a pub, are very different. It should be obvious: drinkers are quite happy to look upwards and give TV programmes serious attention whereas shoppers are rushing by and are task-oriented. Shelf-edge screens are, therefore, an important element of a successful digital network.
As for the relationship with POP, I predict that, far from ousting traditional materials, the new networks will work with them. Expect to see more growth of integrated, co-ordinated campaigns which will include above-the-line, instore screens and POP and which will ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.