Nielsen to Bow In-Store Service

NEW YORK NielsenConnect, the new division established by VNU to integrate the company’s media and marketing research capabilities, said it would launch a global in-store measurement service next year.

The service will be developed through a new unit called Nielsen In-Store, which will measure consumer exposure to in-store marketing vehicles, including television and radio, shelf talkers, digital signage and other point-of-purchase displays.

For VNU, it’s an opportunity to leverage its numerous research services to a virtually unmeasured space that makes up the sixth-largest advertising vehicle in the U.S. with $18.6 billion in spending in 2005.

NielsenConnect will be headed by George Wishart as global managing director of Nielsen In-Store. He was formerly president and CEO of VNU’s Interactive Market Systems. Initially, Nielsen In-Store will report to David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of VNU, eventually becoming a part of NielsenConnect under Jon Mandel, who was recently named CEO [Adweek Online, Nov. 28].

“In-store marketing provides manufacturers and retailers with a unique opportunity to reach a large and responsive consumer audience,” said Calhoun. “Until now, no one has been able to measure the impact of in-store marketing clearly and accurately. Working with the In-Store Marketing Institute, we will deliver an innovative service that will allow our clients to quantify the impact of in-store marketing and assess its value in comparison with other media and marketing options.”

Focused on improving retail marketing, the In-Store Marketing Institute is a Chicago-based organization of brand marketers, retailers, agencies and manufacturers that has developed a metric to measure in-store consumer reach. Research was conducted on the metric in 2006 by a consortium of advertisers including 3M, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Miller Brewing, Procter & Gamble and Walt Disney, in cooperation with retailers including Albertsons, Kroger, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

“In-store marketing is a critical communications device. It deserves a seat at the table and this partnership between the institute and VNU now enables this powerful, game-changing service to be delivered to the retail industry,” said Laura Desmond, CEO, the Americas at Starcom MediaVest Group.

Plans call for launching the service in a U.S. lead market in early 2007, then fine-tuning it before rolling it out to the industry later in the year. The service will later be extended globally, leveraging VNU’s presence in the 90 countries where it tracks in-store activity.

Nielsen is owned by Mediaweek and Adweek parent VNU.