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The Wall Street Journal reports on what Procter & Gamble believes is the “first moment of truth,” the three-to-seven seconds when the shopper first sees a product on the store shelf, an instant that it believes is “one of its most important marketing opportunities.”

So important, in fact, that the company has a Director of First Moment of Truth, a First Moment of Truth Department, and 50 First Moment of Truth leaders around the world.

“P&G's insight is helping to power a shift in the advertising business: the growth and increasing sophistication of in-store marketing,” the WSJ writes. “Almost a century ago, P&G popularized the concept of mass-market advertising. Now, in response to the fragmentation of television and print ads, it wants to tout its brands directly to consumers where they're most likely to be influenced: the store.”

The financial commitment seems to be there. Some estimates say that companies will spend $18.6 billion on in-store marketing this year, up from $17.6 billion a year ago – though this is just a fraction on the roughly $200 billion spent on all forms of advertising.

Dina Howell, P&G’s director of First Moment of Truth, tells the paper that she wants to take in-store marketing "from an art to a science," and believes that packaging must answer questions for the consumer: "Who am I? What am I? Why am I right for you?"
KC's View:
There are a lot of first moments of truth for retailers. Seems to us that when a shopper enters the store, the first reaction ought to be “Wow!” It shouldn’t be boring, it shouldn’t always be the same, and it should appeal to the shopper’s aspirational impulses.

We love the idea that P&G has institutionalized the notion that first impressions are the most important ones.