Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor
Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor

A sidebar to this month’s “Coming Clean with POP” story in Produce Retailer includes information about the four C’s of point-of-purchase materials.

They are, according to MarketingLab Inc.’s Rich Butwinick:


  • Command attention: Materials must signal a shopper from a distance and draw his or her attention. POP should ideally be commanding enough to do so even with peripheral vision.

  • Connect with the target market: This is the brand connection component. Materials must include visual branding cues that the shopper recognizes and feels comfortable with.

  • Convey information: Marketers should strive to tell a clear, compelling story, making use of a communication hierarchy that prioritizes the product benefits in a simple way.

  • Close the sale: The No. 1 objective here is to overcome any purchase doubt in the target shopper. Tactical elements include reassuring the shopper about performance concerns and closing with a strong “buy now” message/incentive.


After meandering through retailers in central Florida last week, I felt like I needed to add a fifth C:


  • Correctly identify contents.


Now, I’m all for recycling and repurposing materials, when possible. I see retailers re-use boxes to build displays all the time.

Everyone’s probably stacked a waterfall using dummied up banana boxes or whatever else is in good condition that would make an attractive base.

I’ve even seen watermelon bins full of housewares. No one’s fooled when they find shampoo or paper plates in a repurposed watermelon bin.

Display deceptions harm accountabilityBut I saw some serious party fouls while wandering aisles in central Florida at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure in Orlando, Fla.

How about Chilean stone fruit in a display-ready box from California shipper Kingsburg Orchards? This was a secondary display discussing fruit from California in particular.

This isn’t fair to the shipper, and it’s not fair to the consumer, though they should probably know that you can’t get a California peach this time of year.

But the biggest kick in the shins was an entry display of pineapples, which were on special, in a gorgeous, pop-up graphic apple shipper from Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, Wash.

The even bigger faux pas was the bagged apples from another company in an identical Lil Snappers bin next to the pineapples.

I guess if you were generous, you could consider it a win for advertising the product by having the bins on display in the front entryway.

The brand name was getting some good traffic, right?

I wasn’t feeling so generous when I found the real Lil’ Snappers meant for those bins buried elsewhere in the department.

I understand retailers need to do the best they can with what they’ve got, and resources are tight.

Not everyone has high-graphic, decorative private-labeled boxes to build with, like a Whole Foods store, and not everyone can go out and order brand new bins for every season.

But make sure your thriftiness isn’t costing you elsewhere — particularly in accountability with consumers and vendors who supply the materials.

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.