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Top tips for building effective shopper creative

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Matthew Richardson, January 2021

Top tips for building effective shopper creative

There are a number of key facets to building any successful shopper marketing campaign activation. Media needs to be targeted effectively, booked efficiently and activated at the right time in order to maximise performance. However, all of this great work can be undone if your campaign is not underpinned by great creative.

Shopper media by nature appears right up to the point of purchase and therefore shoppers only have limited time to interact with it. As such, it is crucial that creative is built accordingly to mitigate for this, ideally featuring a single, clear and concise message. Here are a few top tips for shopper marketeers:

Keep it simple

While it can be tempting to throw the kitchen sink at creative and feature as much messaging as possible, be mindful that shoppers only interact with a piece of shopper media on average for 5 seconds. I have seen examples of in-aisle media that feature a competition mechanic, price and multiple packshots all on a single small piece of cardboard that shoppers will only glance at for a split second. When putting together creative, think back to your main campaign objective to lead the key messaging, trying to stick to a single, concise call to action. Also, don’t be afraid to A/B test different creative approaches to understand exactly what works best. Where innovation is possible, such as dynamic media or die cut creative, ensure this is used to enhance your call to action rather than further complicating it.

Adapt messaging to suit the touchpoint and shopper mindset

One of the main pitfalls shopper marketeers fall into time and time again is relying too heavily on above the line ‘brand’ creative when building shopper assets. While it is indeed important that creative in and around retailers is reflective of out of home and TV advertising, a different approach is needed and above the line creative cannot just be copied and pasted. Above the line creative should help to maximise brand exposure and awareness, while below the line should be adapted to align where relevant with retailers’ own corporate messaging and also include a tangible reason to buy. This can be a compelling promotion, a directional call out such as ‘find me in the Crisps aisle’, or a nod to a retailer initiative such as Tesco’s ‘Healthy Little Swaps’. Finally, the way this is presented should be tailored to its position in the shopper journey. Focus branding on those touchpoints further away from the fixture with higher dwell time, while keeping fixture media concise and simple.

Close the loop between online and in-store

It is now more important than ever to ensure there is a clear connect between online and in-store messaging. 81% of shoppers now conduct online research before making a purchase in-store, while 84% of consumers believe retailers should be doing more to integrate their online and offline channels[1]. As such, it is vital that shopper marketeers keep online creative as similar as possible to media that shoppers will be seeing in-store, as far as templates allow. Simple visual cues can help, such as ensuring the same packshot is used consistently and the same core offer is communicated throughout.

Media strategy and messaging go hand in hand

Crucially, shopper marketeers need to underpin their messaging priorities with the correct media strategy. If the messaging priority is more complex, such as communicating a competition or an innovation NPD, ensure enough weight is given to media touchpoints that enable full branding and complex messaging. If you are simply aiming to communicate a promotion, in fact larger and more impactful touchpoints may not be the best fit. Always be mindful of retailer templates when developing your messaging hierarchy, to avoid disappointment when it comes to implementing campaigns.


So, remember the following when you are building your shopper creative:

  • Keep it simple, and don’t be afraid to A/B test creative approaches

  • Do not take a one size fits all approach – adapt creative to suit the touchpoint and shopper mindset

  • Always link back to your objectives and media strategy – what job does the creative need to do?

  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box to get the job done

Shopper media is the bedrock of successful FMCG marketing and creative execution can be the difference between a successful campaign and one which misses the mark. Follow these principles to help set you up for success.

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