‘Out of this world’ display takes top nod in annual Design of the Times awards

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — You can say the big winner was literally out of this world.

Unilever’s Axe Apollo Astronaut floorstand, designed by RockTenn Merchandising Displays, was named the Design of the Times 2013 Platinum Award Winner by Path to Purchase Institute judges, during a special awards ceremony Wednesday evening, here at the annual Shopper Marketing Expo. 

Unilever beat out 16 other contestants in the drug channel. The display needed to be disruptive in nature and command the shopper’s attention, Unilever noted. With a life-size astronaut standing behind the latest Axe has to offer, the display succeeded in commanding the judges attention too.

RockTenn Merchandising Displays accepting the platinum award.

“During the first round of judging in August, judges evaluated each entry using the ‘the Four C’s’ criteria,” said Bill Schober, managing director of the Path to Purchase Institute. “They scored each entry on its ability to command attention, connect with the shopper, convey a clear message and close the sale.”

A special panel of judges convened on site Tuesday to select the final winners for gold, silver and bronze, as well as one platinum winner in each category and one overall “Best of the Times” winner across all retail eight categories, which included drug, food, mass, consumer electronics, convenience, home center/hardware, sporting goods and specialty stores.

Designed by Frank Mayer & Associates, the Wii U Interactive Retail Display Program, a finalist in the mass merchandisers category, was named “Best of the Times.”

Presenting the awards were Natalie Zimny of Target and Louis Dorado of Walgreens.

In addition to the Axe Apollo Astronaut display, here is a look the other 16 finalists in the drug store category, and how each fared in the final voting. (To view photos, click here.)

J&J Medicine Cabinet by International Paper (Gold)
Johnson & Johnson fielded a number of brands within this display that ran in some 2,600 Walgreens stores. The display’s primary objective was to use high introductory Balance Rewards point offerings and unique graphics to draw consumers to the endcap and generate incremental sales. The design leverages three insights of successful promotion:

  • Surprise — The design must be unexpected to draw the shopper to the display;
  • Relevance — Once attracted to the display, the products must be relevant to the target; and
  • Information — The offer must be easy to spot and quickly explained.

ZzzQuil ‘Snoring’ shelf tray by Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett and Menasha Packaging Co. (Gold)
Procter & Gamble featured this promotion of its new ZzzQuil sleep aid across more than 6,000 Walgreens stores. The objective was to drive trial of ZzzQuil and subsequently grow the overall sleep category. “We knew that our shopper’s trust in NyQuil to rest when she has a cold was paramount, so we used the iconic bottle visual that the two brands share and emphasized the ZzzQuil logo to drive brand recognition of the ‘Quil’ line of trusted products,” P&G noted.

J&J Neutrogena endcap by RockTenn Merchandising Displays (Silver)
Johnson & Johnson rolled this display into 5,000 Walgreens stores. The objective of the in-store activation tactic was to drive the Neutrogena brand with a unique endcap coinciding with a national Neutrogena FSI drop (May 5), a Neutrogena SaturDate (May 18) and the Neutrogena "Night at the W" (May 22). The goal was to encourage shoppers to purchase more than one product across Neutrogena skin care, cosmetics, bath, and sun care brands, and the display allowed J&J to bring all of the categories together in one place.

CoverGirl ‘What’s New’ 2013 displays by RockTenn Merchandising Displays (Silver)
Procter & Gamble sought to promote its new 2013 CoverGirl products in more than 7,000 Walmart, CVS/pharmacy, Target and Walgreens stores. Development of a new sleek “beauty case” to launch the first CoverGirl Gold new item initiatives would prove to be a win-win for logistics and in-store execution excellence, the supplier noted.

Duracell ‘Mini Tower’ floorstand by RockTenn Merchandising Displays (Silver)
Featuring Duracell Duralock batteries, Procter & Gamble helped to disrupt the consumer-shopping pattern to stop and take a look at the display. Batteries are typically an impulse purchase, and the display is meant to draw the consumer’s focus.

Palmolive Coconut & Cotton Glorifier by Straza Designers (Bronze)
Colgate-Palmolive Colombia sought to introduce shoppers in that country to a variant of the brand with its display that appeared in 100 drug stores in Colombia over an eight-month period. The display depicts the coconut converting into a natural soap. Also part of the display, a cotton stem conveys a sense of softness associated with the product.

Rimmel ‘London Look’ by Menasha Packaging Co. (Bronze)
In promoting its Rimmel Cosmetics, Coty put together a display that was featured in more than 4,000 Walgreens stores. The objective was to lift sales, build Coty’s Rimmel brand and launch two exclusive-to-Walgreens lines of lipstick and nail polish while promoting top seasonal foundations and a new mascara. The combination delivers plentiful stock and one-stop shopping for the "London Look."

Someday by Justin Bieber by Sonoco Display and Packaging (Bronze)
Elizabeth Arden put together this display in 5,000 Walgreens stores to drive awareness and trial for the new fragrance, Someday by Justin Bieber, at drug and mass retailers, and to obtain prime, high-visibility placement at Walgreens on its étagère fixture. According to Elizabeth Arden, incorporating fragrance tester-bottles to display vehicles is critically important in mass retail. Testers perform as a "silent" sales associate in this environment, providing an authentic sampling of the fragrance and bottle to shoppers.

belVita countertop display by Meridian Display (Bronze)
Kraft Foods rolled this display out across 300 drug, convenience and grocery stores in Puerto Rico. The objective of placing the belVita breakfast bars at the cash register in a single-serving size was to introduce shoppers to the new, healthy, on-the-go breakfast option.

L’Oréal new items tower by Pratt Industries (Bronze)
L’Oréal Cosmetics unveiled this display across more than 6,000 Walgreens stores to increase consumer awareness for its newest product offerings, and to create an innovative, interactive buying experience for the shopper. The tower needed to fit within an enclosed three-sided Walgreens space and draw the shoppers’ attention.

SensatioNail Island Fever counter unit by Menasha Packaging Co. (Bronze)
Pacific World promoted its gel nail supplies in an effort to leverage its leadership position in the gel polish category and showcase its vibrant array of summer shades. SensatioNail’s target shoppers are women, ages 18 years to 54 years, with household incomes of more than $50,000. When shopping, they expect to see what’s new and want to be delighted.

Pantene Expert Collection floorstand by Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett (Bronze)
In its Pantene Expert Collection display, Procter & Gamble helped to drive awareness and trial outside of the hair care aisle for an entirely new, premium sub-brand across some 5,000 Walgreens locations. The language used helped communicate that the line was geared for the youth-seeking hair care shopper — with the claim, "For hair that acts up to 10 Years Younger."

P&G Tim Gunn and the People’s Choice Awards endcap by Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett (Bronze)
Procter & Gamble promoted a number of products in this endcap — including Pantene, Crest, Olay, Cover Girl, Secret, Always and Tampax — in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores. The People’s Choice Awards was looking for a vehicle that would help its image, to regain its “cool,” to be taken seriously and to get people to participate and watch the show again. To help drive the point home, P&G invested in celebrity spokesman Tim Gunn, who delivered a call to action to shoppers to “make it fabulous.”

Vaseline Spray & Go countertop display by Sonoco Display and Packaging (Bronze)
In this display, Unilever’s new Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer helped to highlight the uniqueness of the product’s new breakthrough lotion and spray format/delivery system. The campaign’s eye-catching, premium-looking Spray & Go counter display helped to stop the shopper and allowed the breakthrough innovation — “absorbs in seconds … no waiting” — to initiate trial.

Walgreens Taylor Swift endcap by Menasha Packaging Co. (Bronze)
Walgreens successfully designed a “store within a store” featuring all items Taylor Swift timed to the debut of her "Red" album in Walgreens stores across the United States. According to the retailer, the product exclusive drew a younger demographic — girls and young women ages 14 years to 24 years — and provided an opportunity to capture their loyalty.

Walgreens Bus/Haunted House floor displays by Menasha Packaging Co. (Bronze)
Walgreens sought to drive multiple purchases and boost marketshare during the highly competitive back-to-school and Halloween shopping seasons with this unique display. The retailer wanted to give shoppers one-stop shopping with attractive pricepoints for seasonal, core drug store and household products, recapturing their core business from competitors.

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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

Curtin, Mack talk strategic alignment and the art of co-creation at Shopper Marketing Expo

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — The best partnerships involve transparent storytelling and the freedom to have risky conversations. Call it “co-creation.” It is the way leading retailers and CPG companies are working together today to identify and leverage the unique hidden assets of their brands, and build a business plan around agile and transparent collaboration.

To take marketing professionals on a journey of the co-creation process, what it means and why it’s critical to joint business planning, industry leaders Shannon Curtin, GMM and VP of beauty, personal care and seasonal at Walgreens, and Dan Mack, founder and managing director of strategic sales and consulting firm Mack Elevation Forum, co-hosted, “Elevating Customer Engagement through Co-Creation,” a key part of the educational lineup, here Wednesday, at the annual Shopper Marketing Expo.

Why co-creation? Because it enables marketers to answer a critical question and face the biggest threat to future growth. "If your brand was delisted today,” Curtin posited, “would anyone care? Would your customer care? Co-creation creates care, and care creates long-term revenue potential. Without care, brands do not survive.”

Shannon Curtin and Dan Mack

What is it and what does it look like? Co-creation is a total process that starts with something the pair described as “relevant innovation” — identifying something that is missing from the marketplace — and then creating a solution to satisfy it.

“Co-creation is not just about shopper marketing, and it is certainly not about just creating new products. It is about everything,” Mack explained. “Co-creation is about ideas. It is about assets.”
“Co-creation is not a technique; it really is a philosophy and it is part of your identity as a company if you do it well,” he added.

And at the heart of the process is an honesty that leaves the retailer and the brand free to author the customer experience together. An open mind is critical, but just as critical is the ability to come up with fresh ideas and bring new, emerging insights to the table that help unlock value for the customer. “The best partnerships include transparent storytelling where both parties are invited to participate. It is about storytelling and asking someone to come into your story,” said Mack. “When a retailer and a manufacturer do that well they create solutions together for the consumer.”

In order to win with co-creation, manufacturers must work to overcome the blind spots that can hinder strategic alignment with retailers, compromising the effectiveness of those engagements and hampering brand growth. Mack categorized the blind spots into three buckets:

• Overestimating yourself and your assets;
• Underestimating the competition; and
• A lack of transparency and effective communication.

“Those three things are big, … but the key is how do you be relevant, how do you be valuable and drive change and be a transformational organization?” Mack said.

Being transformative is another critical element of successful co-creation. Unlike change, Curtin explained, transformation is intentional; it is a choice to do something different. “The intentional choices that you make will move you from that really good company that you are today to the really great one that you aspire to be,” Curtin said.

Co-creation with its vendor partners is an important growth factor for Walgreens, said Curtin, who provided attendees with a powerful example of how the retailer partnered with one small brand to help unilaterally grow the business. That brand, “Yes To,” is no longer a small brand by any stretch of the imagination.

More than six years ago, Yes To brands founder Ido Leffler met with Walgreens with a mission: To sell his line of skin and hair care products in Walgreens. Intrigued by the unique offering and Leffler’s passion, Walgreens agreed to become the brand’s first retail partner and worked with Leffler exclusively for nearly a year to help build the brand and grow the business.

Today, the brand “is in more than 20 countries and is the second-largest natural brand in this space, and he has done that in less than 10 years,” she added.

At the end of day, what’s important to remember is that, while there may be a basic blueprint for co-creation, it is important for brands to let their identify shine through in their engagements with retailers, Mack admonished. “It is a combination of blending both strategy and art — finding that radical middle between the right and left brain,” he said.

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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

Building awareness, driving trips and growing the basket — together

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — In order to win in today’s shopper environment, retailers and suppliers need to approach marketing programs in a whole different way — together. It all comes down to two key words: shared media.

That was the message two highly savvy marketers had for Shopper Marketing Expo attendees, during Wednesday morning’s opening keynote session. Jocelyn Wong, chief marketing officer for Family Dollar, and Alison Lewis, SVP marketing North America for the Coca-Cola Co., explained how traditional marketing models are being replaced by a new, higher form of collaboration between enlightened retailers and manufacturers — a model where partners develop a common audience and a common message in an effort to drive trips, induce trial and engender loyalty among consumers.

Jocelyn Wong

That’s because a one-size-fits all marketing program just doesn’t drive the consumer traffic it once did; and few retailers, if any, have a one-size-fits-all view of their customers any more. Retailers don’t seem themselves as a collection of stores; today, they see themselves as brands in their own right.

“Retailers are starting to demand customization,” Wong explained. “Retailers are no longer just place[s] where you go to buy things. [They] have become powerhouse brands, and as they start to think of themselves more as brands, there’s a need for greater collaboration [with suppliers],” she said.

By definition, “shared media” implies close collaboration between retailer and supplier from inception all the way through execution of a marketing program. When executed effectively, this strategic approach to shopper communication along the path to purchase helps transform the entire shopping experience, and helps connect the dots between the manufacturer’s objectives and a retailer’s traffic and conversion goals.

“The world has changed,” Lewis said. “The new school is much more about how we work together; to think about how do we get to the win-win-win between the retailer, the brand and the shopper — and it has to be a three-way win across all of those groups. We’re in a world now of co-creation; not just deal-making.”

Wong and Lewis identified five key steps and two critical phases, in which retailers and suppliers must work together in order to build a successful, customized promotion. The first phase is foundation building, which starts with an assessment of the shared insights a CPG company’s brand and a retailer’s brand hold in common, strategy development and alignment — what are the goals the retailer and manufacturer need to reach in order for the program to be considered a success?

The second phase is the actual creation of the program. This is major departure from the past, when program creation is where retailers and CPG companies started their collaboration, Wong and Lewis explained. “In the past, the focus was much more on the building of programs and not as much on the front end [assessment and alignment of brand strategies],” Lewis said. “The foundation building is a really important piece.” This “creation” phase is where the program moves from development to execution and measurement.

To bring the message home in a meaningful and relevant way, Wong and Lewis detailed an important program for which Family Dollar and Coca-Cola partnered together. The campaign needed to help meet an important goal for Family Dollar: helping to raise awareness among its customers for the number of value-priced, mainstream brands available at its stores — an area in which Family Dollar had not traditionally received a lot of credit from customers, and a perception it desperately wanted to change — as well as to drive trips and grow the market basket.

Critical to these types of programs is a keen understanding of the retailer and its target customer, Wong explained. As much as 65% of Family Dollar’s customer base has an annual household income of less than $40,000, she noted; 30% of its customers have an annual income of less than $20,000.

“I want [partners] to empathize with our customer. It’s not just about knowing that she doesn’t make a lot of money; that she’s struggling,” Wong said. “When you actually get to know our customer, you will find that she is tough, resilient … and she’s proud [and] optimistic.”

Aimed at helping enable Family Dollar customers to “say yes to moments of happiness,” as the program was dubbed, the companies collaborated on a comprehensive social media outreach through Twitter and Facebook, Wong said. The message was “[When] you think about snacking for your family, think about Coca-Cola.” Other important components of the program included in-store point-of-purchase material, freestanding inserts and bus station ad placements.

“That’s how we really thought about bringing the whole plan together,” Wong said. “The importance of it is not really the tactical elements, but it’s the thinking that went into it and the insights that actually led to what the plan could be.”

 For more news from the Shopper Marketing Expo, visit


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?