Everyone loves a good TVC. They’re sexy, undeniably powerful and able to take consumers from zero to love in as little as 30 seconds. And let’s face it, agencies love them too because they mean big bucks, as well as items for the trophy cabinet.

Radio, too, can be a winner. The idea of an intimate relationship with your audience, broad reach and a lower cost than TV have made it another favourite over the years.

Newspapers, outdoor, glossy magazines… more pretty stuff, bright colours, lots of eyes.

And then there’s point-of-sale, the shy cousin. It’s not the glamourous one parading its wares around on the dancefloor for all to see; instead it just quietly sidles up to the bar, shoots a look at its target, and says ‘Come on, how ‘bout it?’

It amazes me how many brands are willing to invest serious dollars in mass media and then fail to follow-up with strong point-of-sale. By definition, that’s the place where people are actually forking out their hard-earned – why not hit them with the message one more time? How many times have you yourself stood in a store and thought ‘now which brand did I see/hear that ad for the other day?’ You examine the products before you, and, without any triggers, you’re unable to recall so you make your decision based on whatever other criteria you have available. The effect of the advertising message which originally caught your interest is lost.

To create advertising messages memorable enough to generate recall generally requires a combination of fantastic content and intensive reach. By contrast, creating recognition is much easier – a stimulus at point-of-sale can be all that is needed to take the consumer’s memory back to your last message. A little spend directed out of the media budget and into POS may be far more effective in generating sales.

Certainly, there are political issues that arise in dealing with POS displays in retail environments. There are also more pragmatic considerations such as who will be responsible for the installation and monitoring, if required. However, simple solutions – such as campaign-specific on-pack stickers – can be a very effective and low cost way to bring your advertising messages back to mind.

We can agree that the big picture messages are cool. But when you want to sell something and not just advertise it (I know there are other purposes to advertising) then it’s worth talking to your market when they’re actually about to buy something. Sure, there are some categories where this won’t apply, but most would agree that POS is an underutilised tool which can be used to great benefit by most brands.

So when your agency’s done selling you their amazingly creative TVC or outdoor concept, just ask them how they intend to integrate POS into the campaign – if your question is met with blank look or a line of bumbling BS, you may want to start looking elsewhere.