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A meaningful image is invaluable retail asset.

A new study calls into question the efficacy of television advertising as a means of prompting holiday shoppers to patronize particular stores.

When BIGresearch asked 7,324 consumers which chain had the best holiday TV spot, 75.2% indicated that they had no opinion on the matter. Of those who did, 73.5% said either that the ads did not persuade them to shop a given retailer or that they would have shopped there anyway.

"Many retailers use their TV advertising to entertain consumers as a way of engaging them, but it doesn't appear that it is translating into influence to shop," notes vice president of research Joe Pilotta. "Engaging commercials on TV appear not to have an impact on the cognitive domain called purchasing."

He goes on to say that, based on the survey's findings about the influence of various media, most consumers are seeking information and direction. The study found that coupons, newspaper inserts and word of mouth ranked ahead of broadcast TV ads in motivating people about where to shop, although broadcast TV finished ahead of in-store promotions, direct mail, newspaper, cable and radio commercials, and e-mail.

That should give pause to those who would dismiss the power of broadcast TV, which is admittedly waning but still formidable. The report includes another telling finding: Of the consumers polled who had a favorite commercial, 5.6% cited Target and 3.5% mentioned Wal-Mart. Is it a coincidence that those two companies dominate the discount store sector in this country and are members of the exclusive club of elite mass market retailers worldwide?

One big reason Wal-Mart and Target have been so successful is their ability to consistently differentiate themselves. In large part due to their marketing efforts, consumers know what to expect. Target stands for an innovative version of upscale discounting, which is mirrored in the sophistication of its TV commercials and other advertising vehicles, while Wal-Mart has built its reputation on delivering low prices, a message that is being embellished but remains the cornerstone of the world's largest retailer.

With the help of TV advertising, Target and Wal-Mart have developed an invaluable asset--a meaningful, instantly recognizable image.

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Title Annotation:impact of media on holiday shoppers
Author:Woldt, Jeffrey
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 9, 2006
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