Molto Bene !!

I am bouyed. Not twenty-four hours after my last post I discovered a truly ingenious little counter unit for San Pellegrino (S. Pellegrino) at the Artisano Bakery. WOW.

Sanpelegrino Star

A simple and effective way to deal with the primary complaint amongst retailers; counter space, this unit is a skyscraper amongst counter units. Iconic branding, enough room for multiple flavours (having researched S. Pellegrino they appear to have started with water) and leveraging the blue asset in the label works really well. One minor quibble though, the blue in the label reads lighter in a broken field of white; perhaps a lighter shade of blue on the main structure would have been better. It’s minor folks, minor…..

I would have to say that this display gets 5 stars (technically 4 because there are two Orange cans on display but that’s not the point) for originality, use of vertical space and overall stopping power. For the record, my favourite flavour is “Limonata”.

Now, to convince the energy drink companies to follow suit. I have a few minor modifications in mind……



“Come Fly With Me…

…come fly, come fly away” – Sinatra


I’ve been searching and searching and for a while I’ve felt that I wouldn’t be rewarded with the “WOW” anytime soon. Everything seemed kinda same old same old. However, while going up the escalator at the Square One Target store in Mississauga, something caught my eye. Motion. That’s right, something was moving off to the side. I turned, I saw and I went back immediately on the down escalator to take a closer look. Planes.


This is a really awesome display. Why? Where to begin:
1. The blur on the nose of the second plane is due to motion. The propeller is powered by a hidden battery pack making this display independent.
2. Layers. It’s die-cut in foamcore and the embossing and layering create and awesome depth of field on a budget; including the ceiling dangler.
3. The end cap is set back 4 feet from the aisle, taking full advantage of the break in the inline gondola already in place. What a simple solution for a merchandising footprint.
4. Most importantly, the product is almost sold out. Look at the empty pegs. It isn’t any better on the other side either.

Now, the arguement could be made that they could have thrown product on a shelf and with Disney’s marketing clout, it would have flown off the shelves. However, the extra effort was a sure fire way to ensure that the product was “sold, sold, sold” and I was “WOW, WOW WOW-ed”

This little bit of design is worthy of the monicker, “Display WOW”.

Oh So…..Sephora

Another random walk and another reason to love the cosmetics and fragrance space. Look at the stopping power of the Gucci standee. It’s seductive, well executed and really makes an impact in a “Sephora” style. While it is a rework of the stock Sephora display (Dior is to the right) it’s the way it’s put together and the adaptability of a standard display that makes it say Gucci and Sephora all at the same time. The end cap with the classic looking “S” for detail also looks great. This is really nice stuff.

A Canadian Experience

The Canadian chapter of POPAI will be hosting a Spring event on May 9th at the Old Mill in Toronto Ontario. For details, read on….

The Canadian Retail Experience: Repackaged, Redesigned, Rediscovered
The Canadian shopper of 2013 is savvy, shopping for bargains, and like any other shopper, searching for the ultimate retail experience that promises them not just a good price or promotion, but the best value.
Join POPAI for The Canadian Retail Experience: Repackaged, Redesigned, Rediscovered to access a world of insights about the Canadian shopper and how to directly appeal to them throughout what is sure to be a year marked for innovation in the Canadian retail industry. You’ll get a better understanding of what makes the Canadian shopper unique, as well as get a good glimpse at how retailers are responding, whether it be by diving deep into studying shopper behavior; honing new shopper-friendly strategies for a growing competitive market; or through utilizing the power of packaging to bump up the private label offering to price-conscious shoppers.
For the full list of speakers and their respective topics, see below.

Value Defining Canada’s Future
Carman Allison
Director Consumer Insights, North America | The Nielsen Company

Today’s shoppers are still shaken by the recession and their quest for value continues to define a number of current trends. The recession has taught them to demand more for less, and so they search for value at discount retailer formats and buy more on promotion. Despite private label providing a value-seeking alternative shoppers have remained loyal to national brands—fueled by aggressive pricing and promotions. The dynamic retail landscape has challenged many manufacturers and retailers to re-examine and reinforce their value proposition. More than ever, retailers need to differentiate to get beyond price and support sustainable growth.

From Retail to Real Life: The Canadian Shopper Almanac
Jason Dubroy
VP Managing Director, Shopper Marketing | DDB Canada

This entertaining and informative look at the Canadian Retail Experience will look at the past year’s shopper developments from two perspectives: the retailer and the actual Canadian shopper. The first section will look at Canadian retailers, and their own innovations that drove conversation, competition, or controversy in the space, followed by shopper-driven developments that pushed the envelope from showrooming to shopper behavior and beyond!

The Paradox of Choice: Canada Strikes Back
Dr. Hugh Phillips
In-Store Scientist | Pareto Corporation

One of the emerging hot topics in retail is the old ‘paradox of choice’, but this time, it’s the new and improved version. Join Dr. Hugh Phillips to learn from cognitive psychology about how the shopper is rapidly becoming physically incapable of absorbing our current communications; how they are becoming hardwired to walk on by. We all know, and conveniently ignore, that there is a current oversaturation of messages, products, promotions and just about everything else in the retail market, but what can we do about it, except sweep it under the carpet? Join Dr. Hugh Phillips to find out how to build effectiveness in your own retail marketing plan, as well as become tuned to the latest imperatives in the industry.

A Window to Spring for

GAP Kids - "Spring in to the GAP" When I was growing up it was "Fall in to the GAP"

GAP Kids – “Spring in to the GAP” When I was growing up it was “Fall in to the GAP”

Layers of graphics are a very effective mainstay

Layers of graphics are a very effective mainstay

While I had some time on my hands the other day I took a look around a mall not too far from work. I was waiting for a watch battery to be replaced. Watch batteries, I am used to a spring. When I started in the visual merchandising business back in 1998, the retail window was a mainstay of our business. Windows and down-aisle visuals set the tone for the shopper. We did some really great display work and I always enjoyed seeing windows change based on the season. For some reason, Spring / Summer always resonated, perhaps it was the colour pallete. I took a couple of pictures of windows that made me stop and remember fondly the work we used to do in visual merchandising. As we prepare to tour Global Shop in about a month, I look forward to seeing the creative ideas in both the POP and VM industries. These samples take me back and accomplish something very special for me at least, fond memories.

The “Eyes” Have It

Eyeglass Stand copy
Back in the day when I started in visual merchandising, I had the opportunity to work with Pearle Vision in the states. It was at that point I relized that the glasses I had been wearing in various forms since 1971 were a reflection of my style and conversely for many, a fashion statement. How much style does a school kid have at the age 10, clearly not much when you see pictures of me from back then, but I just never got it until Pearle. We did some awesome projects and presented some dynamite displays. Fast forward to today (March 8, 2013). While visiting my optometrist to have a scratched lens replaced, I saw the coolest eyeglass displayer ever. The left and right sides mirror the structure of the face. It’s shape even made me think of Woody Allen’s head in the movie “Sleeper” when he is hiding out as a robot servant, glasses and all. This is functional, minimalist design that was so impressive, I repositioned it in the store to get the best shot. This is cool and I gurantee that even this little displayer could make my seventies era specs look cool and fashionable too.

Mexico Gold

A huge selection of product for the holidays in all different formats with the iconic pyramid represented everywhere.

A huge selection of product for the holidays in all different formats with the iconic pyramid represented everywhere.

A friend who was traveling in Mexico sent me this picture a while back. Having worked with Ferrero on previous initiatives, I can only say that this has massive stopping power. It is an interesting view of how other countries can position products at retail. The modularity reduces cost, the gold foil is a hallmark of Michele Ferrero’s desire to reclaim the colour gold for the brand and it becomes the center of the brand. (I apologize for the quality of the picture). Look for more and more gold foil work by Ferrero as they continue to grow market share globally with no signs of slowing down. In fact, the meteoric North American growth has necessitated the construction of a manufacturing facility outside of Mexico city. It is slated to go into Kinder production in about a year.