NEW YORK — Walgreens chief innovation officer Colin Watts and Herb Sorensen of research firm TNS shared retail and consumer insights with executives from Procter & Gamble, Nestle, S.C. Johnson, Coca-Cola and other consumer packaged goods brands at this week’s Product of the Year USA 2010 awards ceremony.
The event, held Tuesday night in New York City and hosted by Phil Lempert, who is known as the "supermarket guru," honored 2010 Product of the Year Award winners from Colgate, Pledge, Tide, Mars, Clairol, Sprite and other brands, which were recognized by consumers for bringing product innovation to the marketplace.
Product of the Year USA had announced in August that Watts was selected to chair the jury panel for the 2010 awards.
"With consumers watching their wallets more closely and the increase in new products, today’s brands and retailers are constantly looking for ways to help shoppers deal with ‘aisle overload,’ " Watts said in a statement released Wednesday. "Successful companies are the ones who bring new product innovations that are based on what consumers need during these challenging economic times and consumers are rewarding them with their purchases."
And Watts should know. Walgreens is in the midst of implementing its Customer-Centric Retailing strategy, a major initiative by the drug chain to make its stores easier and more exciting to shop as well as to refine product assortments to better provide customers with the items they need and want most.
"Shoppers are faced with a blizzard of choices in the store, and anything that helps them cut through the clutter is good for the shopper — and good for the retailer and brand," remarked Sorensen, who is scientific adviser for the global retail and shopper practice at TNS. "Product of the Year is a three-way win: shopper, retailer and brand. It not only provides a distinguishing mark, but also backs that mark with a one-two punch: chosen by other shoppers and ‘new,’ a powerful motivator of trial in a jaded market."
Hosted in 28 nations, Product of the Year is the largest consumer-voted program that recognizes innovation in consumer packaged goods. This is the second year that Product of the Year was held in the United States, with more than 60,000 American shoppers voting on products in a survey conducted by TNS, according to New York-based Product of the Year USA.
The following 14 products were voted Product of the Year in their category:
• Hair Care: Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Shampoo and Conditioner (Procter & Gamble)
• Hair Color: Perfect 10TM by Nice ‘n Easy (Procter & Gamble)
• Personal Care: Secret Clinical Strength Waterproof (Procter & Gamble)
• Oral Care: Colgate Wisp (Colgate-Palmolive)
• Personal Hygiene: Afrin PureSea (Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare)
• Beverages: Sprite Green (Coca-Cola Co.)
• Laundry Products: Tide Stain Release (Procter & Gamble)
• Carpet Care: Resolve Deep Clean Powder (Reckitt Benckiser)
• Household Products: Glade Sense & Spray (S.C. Johnson & Son)
• Home Cleaning Products: Pledge Multi Surface (S.C. Johnson & Son)
• Coffee Systems: Nescafe Dolce Gusto (Nestle)
• Pet Food: Cesar Treats (Mars Petcare U.S.)
• Children’s Products: Springfree Trampoline (Springfree Trampoline Inc.)
• Value Products: Moser Roth Chocolate (Aldi Inc.)
According to a recent TNS survey, 41% of consumers are seeking new products that offer better value for the money. Recommendation is also really important for new products, with consumer endorsements positively impacting purchase interest among nearly half the population. In addition, the survey found that displaying the Product of the Year stamp on a package is 25% more effective at generating purchase interest from shoppers than simply displaying the word "new" on a package.
"The Product of the Year seal is a true vote of confidence for today’s consumer," stated Colleen Kelly, managing director of Product of the Year. "In our age of information and social networking, it’s the only distinction that truly delivers the consumer vote to everyday shoppers."
Shoppers nationwide will be able to recognize the winners as of this month by looking for the red Product of the Year stamp on packaging as well as in advertising and in-store displays. Last year’s winners included products from Duracell, CoverGirl, Oust, Canada Dry and Degree.