Outside the box

Ads to Be Printed on Grocery Store Conveyor Belts

“Conveyor belts have never been on anybody’s radar screen for marketing.” But a store with eight to 10 checkout lanes, well, you’re talking about 100 square feet of wasted ad real estate.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger Stores is the first national retailer to open checkout lines to the ads in a test in a few dozen of its stores, mainly in northwest Arkansas; Jackson, Miss.; and Memphis, Tenn. Harps Food Stores, a 52-store grocery chain based in Springdale, Ark., is also testing the system in 13 stores.

Local advertisers
The first marketers to sign on aren’t national brands, though, and for now shoppers see hometown ads with photos of local real-estate agents and insurance brokers, not the logos of Coca-Cola and Hershey.

Mr. Cox, formerly president of CJRW, an independent ad agency based in Little Rock, said he waited to knock on corporate America’s door until the system, dubbed Ads-n-Motion, had the kinks worked out. Additionally, the capital investment is high. Printers capable of printing on conveyor belts cost upward of $400,000.

Mr. Cox bought the patent for the conveyor belt ads from the inventor, Joe Molinaro, and launched EnVision in May 2005. With a sales staff of five, Mr. Cox said he’s aiming first for brands in the checkout aisle, such as candy makers Nestle, Hershey, and Mars; film makers like Kodak and Fuji; and, of course, soft-drink brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

As part of the sales pitch, Mr. Cox said he’s offering national advertisers the chance to shut out competitors at the cost of $182,800 a year for the entire 55-store footprint, which Mr. Cox claims can deliver 3.3 million impressions a month.

“If a national advertiser joins us, they get to own the region and as we grow, they get the first right of refusal,” Mr. Cox said. “That’s just about $15,000 a month to shut your competitors out. So if Duracell buys in, Energizer can’t.”

Kroger has made its own exclusivity requirements, too, especially in the early stages of the test when local ads dominated. No ads in its stores can be in categories competitive with Kroger’s own products, including bakeries, florists, butchers and pharmacies.

*An Ad Age Update from Mya Frazier


Stamps with Flavour

TBWA\Germany in Hamburg was tasked with launching the Häagen-Dazs “Let your tongue travel” campaign.

So, in partnership with the Austrian Postal Service, they found a new medium. Together they produced a limited edition series of authentic postal stamps that featured original Häagen-Dazs artwork.

They then infused flavors like Cookies & Cream, Macadamia Nut Brittle and Strawberry Cheesecake into the adhesive on the back. As you licked the stamp, you actually tasted the flavor! For every 10 scoops of ice cream purchased, a book of stamps was distributed as part of a loyalty program.

Which meant consumers could experience other flavors, sans the extra calories.


That’s not a Dirty Coffee Cup. It’s an ad!

Sephora Campaign Promoted Store Opening With Well-Placed Lipstick Smear


The dirty imprint on the cup was part of a campaign to promote cosmetics retailer Sephora's latest New York store opening.

The dirty imprint on the cup was part of a campaign to promote cosmetics retailer Sephora’s latest New York store opening. [Photo Credit: Hoag Levins]

Makeup retailer
The promotion, hyping the latest store opening of makeup retailer Sephora, is a relatively inexpensive way to gain attention in a market where it’s particularly hard to cut through all the outdoor clutter. But could it risk grossing out consumers and causing the effort to backfire, especially because it’s part of a campaign about beautifying the market called the “New York Pretty”?

Sephora, which created the ad in-house, has not received any negative feedback from the campaign, said Allison Slater, VP-retail marketing. “You realize pretty quickly that it’s not a dirty cup,” she said. The imprint isn’t on the exact top of the rim, so it’s not intended to look exactly like someone had drank out of it, she said.

Manhattan financial district
Coffee cups worked with this particular store opening, because the location is in Manhattan’s financial district, where people work long hours and drink coffee, she said.

“No one ever wants their clients or future clients to be grossed out but you definitely [want to] get their attention and got to break through the clutter with something unique and creative and fun,” Ms. Slater said. The campaign was first implemented in Seattle with no complaints, she said.

PromoMedia Concepts, which produced and distributed the cups, however, did hear some apprehension from a few coffee vendors. But there was no major backlash, said Evan Topilow, director of marketing.

Does it stand for the brand?
“I think it has a lot of stopping power,” said Jose Reyes, partner and creative director at Turbulence, an advertising agency in Miami, “I’m just questioning if it’s a brand that stands for ultimately making things more beautiful, because there probably was a more effective execution of that.”

The 250,000-cup campaign in New York cost Sephora around $18,000, according to Mr. Topilow’s estimates, was launched at the end of April and was intended to last one month. Print ads also ran as part of the “New York Pretty” campaign in telephone kiosks and on billboards showing a woman’s face in makeup and iconic visuals of New York such as the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.

*An Ad Age update from Willow Duttge


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