Major brands booking time on novelty shopping carts

October 10, 2008 by Dave Haynes

UPDATE: Now MediaPost is saying these carts are NOT rolling in Wal-Mart. A close read of the original press release makes no mention of any stores where these things are committed to, and PRN has about 13 banners it is active in.

When this was first announced, the ops guy inside me looked this over and immediately thought: expensive nightmare.

These oversized shopping carts are undeniably cute, and kids will throw hissy-fits unless they get to ride in them, but they will also be a headache to keep operating and to, ick, keep hygienic. One reader suggested there was not a chance he’d let his kids climb into one of those Petri dishes after dozens of other snot-nosed kids had been pawing the things.

The other big challenge was sheer numbers, as these things are massive and do not nest into each other — meaning a store can probably have a few of them at most and still have scores or regular, screen-less shopping carts.

Despite all that, Premier Retail Networks and cart operator Cabco, are doing deals to place ads on these fellas.

Reports MediaPost:

The first companies to advertise via the shopping cart displays are Unilever, Cadbury Adams, Bush’s Baked Beans, American Greetings, and Church & Dwight Co., which includes brands like Arm & Hammer, Aim toothpaste, Arrid deodorants, and Scrub Free.

Their ads will appear on screens in Cabco’s TV Karts in Wal-Mart, one of PRN’s biggest retail partners.

The carts were developed by the New Zealand-based company to entertain children during the shopping experience. In addition to screens displaying content from sources like Nick Jr. and Hit Entertainment, the carts are modified with colorful plastic molding that makes them look like make-believe vehicles. Meanwhile, separate screens deliver advertising messages to shopping adults. 

To me, this has novelty buy written all over it. But to be positive about this, some big, well-established brands are taking a run at targeted marketing in-store, in ways other than screens hang to little or no effect from the ceiling. These screens are smaller, but are always in view, and much closer to the notion of marketing at the shelf edge, when shoppers make the big decision to put something in the cart.

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