Design to disrupt: Best practice for shopper marketing creative

A successful shopper campaign needs all its components to work together seamlessly; selecting the right media mix, aligning to retailer agendas, and ensuring compliance are all important factors. But too often, the effort that goes into getting these components right is let down by poor creative.


In some cases this is because a brand is trying to be cost efficient in using existing ATL creative on shopper media or even believes one design works in all scenarios. In other cases, its because the shopper creative has been designed in silo from the media plan. 


ATL creative must be adapted for the shopper mindset and environment to drive shoppers to consider purchase, visit the category and ultimately buy – reminding them of the emotional benefits that drive preference but converting them with functional reasons to believe at the point of purchase.


Admittedly, shopper is a challenging context to master. Many shoppers operate on ‘autopilot’ with low dwell times in store, wanting to conduct their shops as quickly and efficiently as possible. Others are increasingly cynical and resentful of advertising. Retailers have restrictions that limit what brands can do in store, and of course, omnichannel behaviour means the shopper journey is much more complex than it used to be.


It is these things themselves that can also make a brand now want to invest in designing good shopper creative whether in house or through an agency. But the truth is, the mere fact that as shopper marketers we only have a few seconds to get the advert noticed and influence the shopper, means it’s crucial we get the creative right for the shopping environment. 


So how can we make sure we communicate effectively in this context?


Design to disrupt

A good rule of thumb is to stick to 3 key elements, keeping visuals as simple and uncluttered as possible to make them easier for shoppers to process in a glance. Research has shown that 80% of short-sighted shoppers leave their eyeglasses at home, so it’s crucial that copy and imagery can be seen and read from a distance. Key principles will help to design for disruption better. Did you know? Caps work for short words like NEW and FREE but can make longer words difficult to read, especially for shoppers in a hurry.


Tricks like gaze cueing can help to take advantage of the fact that humans tend to follow the gaze of others. Placing your most important elements within the gaze path of a model ensures your audience will have their gaze automatically drawn towards the desired elements.


Lastly, creating crave appeal is