Thursday, September 27, 2007

Subliminal advertising meets retail?

Heather Strang at Retail Design Diva notes that Swiss firm Barix AG has started supplying retailers (specifically New Balance right now) with a new IP-based audio system for delivering in-store music and integrated advertising. While it doesn't sound like anything particularly new to me (pretty much every store you can name is using some kind of audio-over-IP system these days), Strang feels that the system, which has been billed as being able to, "increase brand awareness and customer recall of important marketing messages and can help increase sales through the power of suggestion," borders on brainwashing.

While on the one hand using a phrase like "the power of suggestion" is going to raise some hackles, I believe that the intent of the system is similar to any other POP display. Shoppers are probably not going to devote a lot of time and attention to processing it, but if and when the system plays an ad that's relevant to him, he'll either (consciously) take note, or (subconsciously) be primed to encounter the item while shopping. After all, the inherent power of point-of-purchase advertising is the message's proximity to the product, and consequently the shopper's ability to effectively marry the marketing message to the physical item that can be picked up, examined and purchased.

Now if Barix was doing something sneaky like trying to embed and hide the ads inside of regular-sounding music, that would indeed be creepy, and maybe even illegal depending on who you ask (anybody here see Josie & the Pussycats? No? You should, it's pretty entertaining). But that doesn't seem to be true here, in which case the firm has simply married a new distribution system to its existing in-store audio technology, and hopefully that will be a win-win for retailer and shopper alike. For the retailer, it means an affordable way to add more advertising elements to the store without cluttering up the environment. And for shoppers, well, if the audio track is right, maybe it'll mean no more Michael Bolton or Celine Dion background tracks. And I think that's something that we can all agree would be a good thing (right Heather?)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's an example;take the world famous Virgin logo.If you turn it slighty to the left so that where the underline and tail of the g form an X,you'll also notice the V forms a slightly hidden S and the i,r and part of the g form a broken capital E,spelling the word SEX.
So you have Sex/Virgin in one word.Very clever Mr.Branson.