Arbitron Inc. and VNU has announced that Wal-Mart has signed a subscription agreement for the pilot panel of "Project Apollo," the single-source, national research service based on Arbitron's Portable People Meter system and ACNielsen's Homescan technology. Wal-Mart will also join the Project Apollo Steering Committee, a group of seven advertisers who, along with their advertising agencies, are advising Arbitron and VNU on the design of the Project Apollo service. In the aggregate, the seven advertisers on the Steering Committee spend more than $6.8 billion for advertising on measured media.
Arbitron and VNU have deployed a pilot panel of more than 5000 households as a demonstration of the Project Apollo national marketing research service, which would collect multimedia and purchase information from a common sample of consumers. The pilot panel is designed to show advertisers how Project Apollo would enable a better understanding of the link between consumer exposure to advertising on multiple media and their shopping/purchase behavior. The pilot panel is designed to give advertisers the ability to estimate and quantify the top-line revenue growth that could be achieved using Project Apollo. The pilot would also showcase the enhanced ability of the "singlesource" marketing research service to measure the return on investment for marketing efforts.
The pilot panel for the national marketing research service consists of approximately 11,000+ participants in 5000 households, providing, multimedia exposure and purchase information from a common sample of consumers. These individuals are given incentives to voluntarily carry Arbitron's Portable People Meter, a small, cell phone-sized device that collects the volunteers' exposure to electronic media sources: broadcast television networks, cable networks, and network radio, as well as audio-based commercials broadcast on these outlets and on additional media.
Consumer exposure to other media such as newspapers, magazines, and circulars are being collected through additional survey instruments. Data on consumer preference and purchases for a wide range of services and products are being collected from panelists via ACNielsen's Homescan technology, which tracks packaged goods purchases and by means of additional surveys, both conventional and electronic. Data is being collected in aggregate form to provide a holistic understanding of participants' media interactions and their resulting shopping and purchase behavior.
"We are looking to Project Apollo as an innovative research service that will help us understand how multiple touchpoints of our media strategies work, including traditional vehicles and obviously our own store communication touchpoints," says Ramon Portilla, Director of Communication Insights, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "We want to tap into Project Apollo's ability to help us reach consumers with more relevant messages through the ROI optimization of our unique touchpoints to ultimately improve shopping experiences and sales results."
"Thanks to Wal-Mart's participation on the Steering Committee, we expect we will be better able to develop Project Apollo into an even more valuable and robust single- source research service," says Linda Dupree, Executive Vice President, Portable People Meter New Product Development, Arbitron Inc. "Wal-Mart will be able to provide unique insights into the role that retailers play in process of consumer marketing."