Coke and Blue Man Group ring in NRF convention

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This week's NRF convention at the Javitz Center in New York kicked off the big Monday show floor with a presentation by The Coca-Cola Company's Michael Donnelly, director of worldwide interactive marketing and Giff Constable, general manager of ESC software for the Electric Sheep Company. The presentations, which focused on the interactive marketing potential in the more emerging online channels, included details on Coke's various user generated campaigns over the last two years. Donnelly highlighted Coke's forays into user generated video campaigns, whose successful Mentos-exploding-Coke-bottles video campaign created by two Maine consumer won the leading beverage maker lots of eyeballs on YouTube and extended into a user generated holiday video greeting card campaign. Again, success.

He also spoke about CC Metro, Coke's virtual world offerings (http://www.dmnews.com/Coke-jumps-into-Therecom/article/99852/).  Coke's take is that rather than create a destination island and expect consumers to come to them, they build vending machines and plant these throughout the worlds. The vending machines sell experiences, not just soda.

After Donnelly's presentation, The Blue Man Group took to the stage for a visual spectacle.

The flashy morning parade seemed to be aimed at getting retailers, who are coming off of a slower than usual holiday season and are facing a new year with expected slow growth. On the show floor, vendors are talking about how to make the in-store experience more like an online experience with advanced tracking devices and

Experian has a new tool called FootFall, in which retailers can track the success of a coupon campaign based on in-store traffic, not just on transactions. This way retailers can measure if it went well, based on products on hand, staff support, etc.

EK3 also addressed the issue of maximizing the customer in the store. Their platform is letting Wal-Mart Canada sell ad space in-stores through digital store signage. Wal-Mart and their vendors can measure sales based on these promotions through POS systems, making the transaction more measurable.

As we move into a tighter time for consumer spending, expect retailers to make in-store shopping more quantifiable.

-Dianna Dilworth

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