Consumers to candy makers: ‘You have 3 seconds to get my attention!’

Gone in 3 seconds: Making the most of those valuable seconds could be a money spinner, according to Saatchi & Saatchi X

Confectionery brands have just three seconds on the shelf to be noticed by consumers, according to Saatchi & Saatchi X. How can companies maximize these precious moments?

Research from shopper marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X found that 82% of purchase decisions in 2014 were made at the shelf, up from 70% in 1995.

“The average shopper spends three seconds to decide whether they will buy the brand,” Dina Howell, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X told the audience at the recent National Confectioners Association State of the Industry conference in Miami.

According to Saatchi & Saatchi X, 30,000 new confectionery SKUs were introduced every year and stores contained over 3,000 marketing messages all clambering for attention.  How then can brands break through the clutter with three seconds on the shelf?

Retail fundamentals

Howell said that first step was to work with retailers on the in-store fundamentals. This meant ensuring customers had a clean and safe environment in which to shop. She added that confectioners must make sure their product was available as she had spotted many products out of stock at eye level in stores.

The Saatchi & Saatchi X CEO encouraged confectioners to help create emotion in the candy aisle to let consumers know they have entered the confectionery section.

“You must tap into that emotion. Candy makes life sweeter and let’s embrace that.”

She said that Twinkies made a strong comeback last year with new private equity owners as it was able connect with shoppers by bringing back memories of childhood.


Howell said that manufacturers must ensure that consumers immediately recognize the purpose of a product.

She said Coffee Thins was one brand that quickly let consumer know it was a chocolate containing real coffee and an alternative way of consuming the hot drink.

She also pointed to Mars’ ‘Baking with M&M's’ campaign, which reminded consumers of an alternative use for the product.

Brands could also leverage the antioxidants in chocolate, she said. “Whoever claims it is going to have a huge advantage.”

 Once all other components are in place, Howell said that it was time to get creative with displays. She called out Godiva’s own stores and Lindt’s displays for its latest Hello brand as models for show-stopping displays.

“Do what’s right for the shopper, not necessarily the retailer,” she said.

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