Survey Measures Shoppers' Preferences for Grocery Circular Ads

WINDSOR, Conn. - A new survey measuring shoppers' preferences for grocery circular advertising was revealed today at the FMI Advertising/Marketing Executive Conference in Miami Beach, Fla.

If retailers want to move a specific product or communicate an important message, they should feature it in the "sweet spot" of the page -- in the middle, just above center, according to the survey by Advo, a targeted direct mail marketing services company and the largest distributor of grocery circular advertising in the nation. "This is the spot on a circular that captures the most attention," said Susan Roberts, Advo's director of marketing research. "The majority of shoppers focus on this spot first when looking at the pages of grocery circulars."

Another hot topic among retailers is whether shoppers prefer to see meat and seafood cooked or raw in a circular?s design. The survey's findings show a clear preference for illustrations of cooked vs. raw meat. Seventy percent of respondents described pictures of meat that is cooked or cooked and presented as a finished dish as most appealing, while just 30 percent who found pictures of raw meat most appealing.

"The large majority of shoppers like the meat and seafood in advertising to look appetizing, and they also find serving suggestions appealing," said Terry Goins, Advo's vice president of national grocery and drug. "Raw meat illustrations may appeal to shoppers who prefer custom-meat cutting services, but for most mainstream customers, raw meat is unappetizing."

The Advo survey was designed and administered by Fort Lee, N.J.-based Perception Research Services International. Interviews were conducted among primary grocery shoppers in markets across the country.

Additional findings include:

-- Consistent with previous Advo studies, when asked what products they want featured on a advertising circular that will help them decide where to shop, 66 percent of consumers want to see meat/poultry, 54 percent want produce and 37 percent want to see beverage features.

-- When determining the font size of pricing graphics, consumers say don't think too big or too small. Specifically, 42 percent of respondents found advertisements featuring "medium-sized" product prices (215 point) had the most appeal, while 32 percent preferred the "small size" (140 point). Only 26 percent liked the "in-your-face," large (305 point) size.

-- The majority of consumers say they are most likely to read educational features such as recipes and community messages rather than store testimonials. When presented with the three alternatives, 49 percent of those surveyed said they would be most likely to read a recipe and 41 percent a community message, while only 10 percent would be most likely to read a store testimonial.
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