IN-FLOOR ADS OPEN DOOR TO HIGHER SALES

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In-floor advertising, one of the newest forms of in-store media, is stepping up off-the-shelf product sales.

A recent study by Information Resources Inc., Chicago, found in-floor advertising increased volume sales an average of 10.2% vs. the same products in other stores that didn't get such ad support. "The study showed in-floor advertising had a significant effect depending on which category was represented," said Mike Hess, senior VP of IRI's testing services division.

The ads are carried on 2-foot-by-2-foot panels, actually flat on the floor, at the end of aisles.

Some brands from participating advertisers tested very well in the sample. Thomas J. Lipton Co.'s Lipton instant tea had the highest increase, at 36.9%; Sara Lee Corp.'s Sara Lee pound cake rose 17.6%; PepsiCo's Rold Gold pretzels, 7.5%; and General Mills' Lucky Charms cereal, 6.6%. Other brands such as Ralston Purina Co.'s Cat Chow and Hostess Twinkies, and Lipton herbal tea, didn't rise significantly.

"Sales increased because the advertising medium was close to the point of sale and gave the consumer an extra nudge," Mr. Hess said. Some reasons for the lack of increase could be the ad copy used or that the category doesn't spur an "impulse buy."

The study, commissioned by Indoor Media Group, Dallas, tested the company's in-floor advertising unit in 10 Tom Thumb Supermarkets in the Dallas/Fort Worth area from May to August 1993.

The in-store medium, so far, has been successful in promoting its worth to retailers and advertisers.

Indoor Media has installed units in 120 Kroger Co. supermarkets in Atlanta and is putting about 2,400 more units in about 480 Kroger and Safeway stores in Dallas; Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix.

Each unit cost marketers $150 for 12 weeks.

Another company, Floor Focus Media, Buffalo, N.Y., with its product Ad-Tile, has also been successful in testing.

The company's first test in New York Pathmark stores "moved product very well," said Carmen Fasula, Floor Focus president.

The project has been on hold since the first test in early '93.

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