ST. LOUIS -- In the point-of-sale realm, battery-operated action displays are a big selling point with retailers because they capture consumer attention and generate sales.
For Anheuser-Busch here, that means ski-lift tickets that bob in and out of a Michelob Light 12-pack or an oversize golf ball rotating on a tee above a Michelob 18-pack.
"Art on a stick just doesn't cut it anymore," says Steve Winkler, senior product manager for the Michelob family.
The rotating golf ball display is being used this spring to support the second-annual Great Golf Ball Giveway by calling attention to and generating sales of 18-packs of Michelob, Michelob Light and Michelob Dry containing certificates for a free sleeve of Ram Tour Balata LB golf balls. Later in the summer, the action display can continue to be used, but the premium will change to a free golf hat.
"There are really a lot of choices in the beer aisle," Winkler explains. If you're going to stand out from the competition, "dynamic packaging and POS have to work together," he adds. Both need to project the brand's superpremium image.
"We're always trying to communicate to consumers that Michelob is a step above," he says.
With a continuous series of promotions planned for 1996, POS materials change constantly.
"We also have to monitor packaging changes to make sure supporting materials match current graphics and logos," says Winkler.
In March, for example, POS materials incorporating the anniversary seal celebrated the brand's 100th birthday and publicized the chance of winning $100 for shoppers buying commemorative 12-packs. Later in the year, standard price and reminder materials for Michelob will continue to feature the seal, as will the Great Golf Giveway and holiday packaging and promotional materials.
Although production of POS materials is done in-house, A-B relies on outside firms for the design phase.
"We use a variety of agencies because we like to keep programs fresh. We always want new ideas," says Winkler.
POS materials are targeted to off- or on-premises outlets.
"We try to look at each business segment individually," explains Winkler.
For example, pole displays are constructed in two sizes, larger for supermarkets and smaller for convenience stores. Other off-premises items include banners, shelf talkers, shelf strips, base wrap, case cards and cooler stickers, while on-premises can include danglers, table tents, tap markers, mirrors, signs and banners.
"Our wholesalers are responsible for placement and make sure product is merchandised properly with the right price point, shelf space and merchandising materials," says Winkler.
Along with A-B, they also help pay for the materials. Cost varies depending on the complexity of the piece, with prices per unit ranging from less than $1 to $15 to $20 each for the more elaborate structures.
Another consideration is durability. Most POS materials are printed on heavy paper or corrugated paperboard to ensure they'll withstand wear and tear and hold up for several weeks. "The longer they stay up, the more opportunity there is to sell product," says Winkler.