WCJ Takes 360-Degree View of Merchandising

CHICAGO-The Wunderman Cato Johnson office here is developing a proprietary computer application -tentatively dubbed VIEW-for development of in-store and on-site promotional materials.
The program’s name is an acronym for Virtual Integrated Environment Windows.
The simulation will allow clients to see how merchandising materials will look in actual stores or how signage will appear in stadiums or concert venues before those materials are produced.
The technology is being tested with two WCJ clients: Taco Bell and Miller Brewing.
Rather than using computer-generated images, which has been done in the past, the VIEW technology-incorporating Apple’s QuickTime-uses 360-degree photography.
After proposed merchandising materials are digitally inserted, then executives at Taco Bell, for example, can decide how their promotional pieces will look and how many separate pieces each store may then need.
“The computer-generated ‘virtual reality’ mock-ups [of store layouts] were useful as far as they went, but they looked ‘virtual’; it is like a computer game,” said Jim Litwin, senior vice president and general manager of WCJ’s strategy group.
Litwin has been overseeing the development of the computer technology with Gerry Jasinski, vice president and creative director.
“We see this as media planning,” Litwin said. “The agency can plan retail or event merchandising, even in a crowded retail environment, before anything is printed.”