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Business case studies No 305 - 12.06.2019

Building Shelf Awareness - Research into the effects of radio's last-minute reach of shoppers for FMCG brands

New research on FMCG advertising by Radiocentre and Shoppercentric in the UK, Building Shelf Awareness, considers how live radio reaches 38% of people travelling by car to buy groceries (13 times more than the reach of the next largest editorial media)* and explores the significant effect this can have on shoppers’ purchasing decisions once they are in the store. 

This study examines how exposure to radio advertising on the journey to the supermarket can help brands increase stand-out on shelf and influence purchase behaviour, and explores how these effects can be maximised through creative development and media planning strategies.


The research reveals:

  • FMCG radio ads heard in-car on the journey to buy groceries help brands get noticed, increasing visibility on shelf by 11%.
  • The advertising also has a significant impact on buying behaviour reinforcing brand loyalty evidenced by a 30% increase in purchase among buyers who usually buy the brand.
  • Encouraging brand switching, with purchase intent among people who don’t usually buy the brand increasing by 39%.

Ad creativity is an important factor in driving these outcomes. The best performers stimulate a stronger emotional response and results benefit from creative consistency (i.e. construct, voices, music) over time and across media. These effects build on the broader impact of radio advertising in boosting salience, relevance, and ROI for FMCG brands, especially when creative synergies are exploited.


Shoppercentric used a range of research techniques, such as eye-tracking and emotional response recognition, combined with a questionnaire to capture both subconscious and conscious response to radio advertising heard passively on the journey to the supermarket.

The company also developed a driver point-of-view video of a car journey to the supermarket featuring the car radio playing in the background, with advertising included as a natural part of the audio content. This allowed for controlled exposure to the radio ads but also meant that they were heard indirectly, as they would be on a typical car journey. It also meant that the ads were heard in exactly the same context/stage of the journey by each participant so the only variable was the advertising featured.

Webcams were used to passively capture second-by-second emotional response and eyetracking as the video of the car journey elapsed, and when participants were asked to observe relevant in-store shelf fixtures. Following this, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to capture their conscious response to the advertised brands.

To ensure that results were broadly representative, radio ads for four brands were selected from a range of grocery categories (Weetabix, Fosters, Tyrells, Yorkshire Tea). The four brands were split across two test cells and results were compared to a third control cell featuring two non-FMCG ads (Talk Talk; Lloyds Bank) to help isolate the effects of exposure to the FMCG brand advertising.

* Data from IPA Touchpoints 2019




» Full research (click here)


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