VNU, In-Store Marketing join for new service

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NEW YORK -- VNU and the In-Store Marketing Institute said Wednesday that they will partner to launch a global service that measures consumer exposure to a rapidly growing array of in-store marketing vehicles including TV and radio, shelf talkers, digital signage and other point-of-purchase displays.

Along with consumer brands, film and television marketers rely heavily on in-store promotions -- which rank as the sixth-largest advertising vehicle in the U.S. with $18.6 billion spent in 2005 -- to raise awareness about their entertainment properties.

"In-store marketing provides manufacturers and retailers with a unique opportunity to reach a large and responsive consumer audience," said David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of VNU, parent company of The Hollywood Reporter. "Until now, however, no one has been able to measure the impact of in-store marketing clearly and accurately. Working with the institute, we will deliver an innovative service that will allow our clients to quantify the impact of in-store marketing and assess its value in comparison with other media and marketing options."

VNU said the new service will build on a "groundbreaking" research project conducted early this year by a consortium of retailers and manufacturers led by the In-Store Marketing Institute. The goal of the project called PRISM (Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric) was to create a new approach to in-store research that gives the retail industry a common language to measure in-store consumer reach. Members of the consortium include the Walt Disney Co., the Coca-Cola Co., Kellogg's, 3M, Procter & Gamble and Miller Brewing, with support from such retailers as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Albertsons and Kroger.

The service, which will be developed through a new unit of VNU known as Nielsen In-Store, will help marketing professionals better understand how to reach and influence consumers while they are in stores and making their final purchasing decisions, VNU said. It also will help retailers improve results through better store layouts, category adjacencies and product selection. "We also will provide the advertising, media and retail industries with a new currency standard that can increase the efficiency of the media-buying and -selling process," said George Wishart, who has been named global managing director of Nielsen In-Store.

VNU spokesman Will Thoretz said the service will be able to measure consumer exposure to entertainment-based in-store promotions and, in the case of DVDs, may be able to show the effect of the exposure on sales.

The lead-market phase of the new service will be launched in the U.S. early next year and is designed to fine-tune the new metric before it is made widely available to the industry later in the year. The service will be extended globally in the future, incorporating VNU's in-store tracking activity in more than 90 countries.
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