Big brand, tiny screen, major digital signage fail

December 14, 2010 by Dave Haynes

So, some brand manager had the bright idea to market toothpaste right at the shelf edge with a display only as big as said toothpaste’s cardboard packaging.

This was spotted by a reader (thanks, by the way) at a Walmart in Montreal, and there’s also video of this in the wild in Winnipeg. For those struggling: second row from top, middle.

As the reader noted, “I walked right past it without even realizing it was there – and I’m programmed to notice these things.”

How would anyone unless there was a honkin’ big three-foot arrow pointing at it?

I think this is a little electronic ink thing that obviously wouldn’t have cost a pile of money, but it took money and resources, nonetheless, to organize this and put it in place in various stores. The big question: why?

Maybe tubes of Colgate are flying off the shelves because of this thing, but common sense tells me a digital screen this small and muted is not the digital signage answer. Screens at shelf edge have proven quite effective in influencing purchase behavior. But they’re almost always at least large enough to notice.

Colgate-Palmolive Company guys, you need consulting advice. I may know someone.


Thanks to Oversocialized for the video from a Winnipeg (brrrr) store.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave Haynes – 16:9, nec-corp. nec-corp said: RT @sixteennine: Big brand, tiny shelf-edge screen, major #digitalsignage fail What was Colgate thi … […]

  2. Raji Kalra says:

    Hey Dave, I usually agree with you….but I actually really like this execution. It is simple and practical for the toothpaste category. I also think it is probably very cost-effective. Sometimes the simplest things have the biggest impact.

  3. Dave Haynes says:

    Too, too small.This is better having nothing there, but not by a bunch.

  4. This is all about attention. There isn’t any. This needs a “Napoleon” treatment – it might be small, but it has to bark loud to get attention. I wonder how much of this was dictated by the retailer/grocer?

  5. […] two examples of tiny shelf-edge screens advertising toothpaste. He assesses one of them as not-so-good and one as pretty darn good. I would tend to agree with Dave’s assessments, especially at the […]

  6. Bill Lynch says:

    The bottom-line will prove whether either product ends up being a valuable addition. I agree with the criticism of the e-ink display being too hard to see. Consumers are programmed to be looking for the label and, if you shelf talker doesn’t stand out, it will have little if any impact on product sales.

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