Planning a P.O.P. Campaign

When the advertiser’s marketing plan includes the utilisation of Point of Purchase merchandising material, he/she may elect to assign the development of a display or a merchandising program to a Point of Purchase Producer.

Some producers have staff and facilities to plan, design, develop, produce and distribute. Others specialise in design and development, but contract with others for production and distribution, or the advertiser does the planning and development and contracts only for production and distribution.

Because of these differences it is most important that both parties are fully aware of just what each other’s contribution will be before undertaking a particular project.

Planning is a Co-Operative Effort

In the great majority of instances, planning and development of Point of Purchase materials takes place with the producer and advertiser working together. Few advertisers find it economical to maintain a staff with the variety of skills necessary for the creation of their programs. The most efficient planning takes place when the advertiser and the producer work as a team. For this reason, the Point of Purchase Producer should be consulted in the initial stages of the planning of the materials for the campaign.

The Role of the Advertiser

The advertiser usually delegates the Point of Purchase planning phase to specialists within his/her company. These specialists may be sales promotion managers, merchandising managers, brand managers or merchandising departments with responsibility for planning and development. Their job is to budget and evaluate the development of display programs which meet their objectives. Wherever possible these objectives should be clearly stated in a written brief, along with any specific functional requirements for the materials.

The Role of the Retailer

The retailer has the last word when it comes to Point of Purchase Display placement in stores for all in-store campaigns. If the campaign does not meet the specific criteria for various display elements, it will not receive retail placement. In some cases, the retailer may be the purchaser of Point of Purchase materials and in that case their role is interchangeable with that of the brand marketer/advertiser.

The Role of the Producer

In the planning stage the producer, through sales representatives and the creative department, works with the advertiser to establish a design to fit the requirements and purpose of the display. The producer takes into consideration such matters as size, form, stock capacity, ease of assembly, transportability, practical and legal sizes, and weights of shipping cartons. The producer should have a working knowledge of suitable materials, manufacturing methods and engineering construction to achieve the strength, appearance and life expectancy required.

Information Needed for Effective Planning

It is recommended that producer and advertiser reach preliminary joint agreement for the most efficient handling of the project. Past experience has shown that the best projects have resulted when both producer and advertiser have a comprehensive understanding of all elements of the project. Producers and advertisers are encouraged to develop preliminary checklists to aid employees. Here are some examples for consideration:-

  • What is the advertiser’s marketing objective for the product or service?
  • What is the advertiser’s Point of Purchase objective?
  • Who is the target market?
  • What is the specific purpose of the proposed Point of Purchase material?
  • What is the theme of the total advertising program, and, does it differ from the Point of Purchase program?
  • Is the Point of Purchase to be co-ordinated with the total advertising program?
  • How and where will the Point of Purchase materials be used?
  • What is the life expectancy required?
  • In what type of retail outlets will the material be used?
  • What is the budget for the project?
  • What are the terms of payment?
  • Who has the purchase order responsibility?
  • What quantities are required? Will overs/unders be accepted? At what %?
  • What is the project timetable; design – approval – production – distribution?
  • How will the Point of Purchase be packed, shipped, distributed and installed?
  • What legal restrictions, both substantial and timing, must be taken into consideration?
  • Are development cost speculative, invoiced separately or included in the production price?

The Creative Function

When the creative function is assigned, the producer’s responsibility may include illustrations, copy, detailed layout, engineering and structural features as required. It is therefore necessary for both the advertiser and the producer to understand the following in advance.

Cost of Creativity

To provide the necessary creative services, the producer incurs a variety of expenses. These may include maintenance of a design and engineering staff, and other facilities. To maintain a design and engineering staff which is available when, and to the extent that the advertiser needs it, requires substantial annual investment. The advertiser expects to pay for the producer’s talents and facilities. Compensation to the producer may be separate, or the costs may be included in the unit price for the materials.

It is therefore good practice to agree design costs at the briefing stage. It should also be agreed as to what form the initial presentation is to take (eg. Sketches, colour visuals or prototypes), and whether their cost is to be borne by the advertiser as a separate item. The producer should not proceed past the agreed stage without the approval of the advertiser.


Speculation is when more than one producer is asked to develop a solution to a problem in the form of ideas, themes, copyrights, sketches, engineering, prototypes or any other method, without agreement as to compensation. Speculation also occurs when a producer presents unsolicited material to a prospective client.

Number of Submissions

The Advertiser should advise as to the number of submissions he or she has invited. This will enable the producer to assess whether or not, or to what extent to finance speculative, creative development for the submission.

Presentation of Sketches and Models

The producer normally executes sketches in black & white, or colour, or in some cases blank models to show how it is proposed to solve a particular merchandising problem. Such presentation sketches or models represent a preliminary study of the advertiser’s merchandising problem by the producer. It may be necessary to prepare a complete mechanical design in order to make sure the unit is practical and to ensure a realistic price quotation. A rough sketch or blank model may represent only a fraction of the expense incurred in preparing the presentation. Further necessary development should be agreed upon before proceeding.


Successful Point of Purchase programs result from proper planning and development. Good planning and development comes only through the proper function of all roles and responsibilities discussed in this section.

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