2. Think — Massive display. If you don’t have enough space to build a large display for a contest, take a hard look around the store. A large display doesn’t necessarily have to remain in the confines of your department. Many times a produce manager can take over the usual chip or pop display area if he can sell the store manager on the benefits of the contest. Many a creative manager has built whole-truckload displays, lining up pallets of melons or bins of product up against the store’s exterior walls. Other times, a contest can be a practical merchandising maneuver — combining the contest with a push for a holiday or ad period. Keep in mind that to impress a judge, the display should convey abundance, with at least enough merchandise to qualify, and have the dimensions of height, width and depth to stand out.
3. Read (and follow) the display contest rules. The first thing a panel of judges will do when sorting through piles of entries is to eliminate those with obvious flaws. So take the extra time to clear this initial hurdle. Some produce contests require a minimum amount of cases in the display. Others shippers require that only their product is used (and you certainly do not want to have any competing labels in the display photo). Many times the contest rules require a secondary tie-in item or two, or ask that entries include all paperwork (you might be surprised how many entries (nice displays, too) get rejected because the judges only received a blank entry form or no return address from the sender). Worse is getting rejected because the display information was sent in beyond the deadline. Before you build your display, take steps to ensure you are prepared to follow the rules. Take no chances. This may require that you order supplies or tie-in merchandise well ahead of time.
4. Keep it functional. Don’t lose sight of your creative display-building ideas. But keep in mind that judges will notice if your display is shoppable — or not. Can the display be shopped from several angles? What’s true for everyday display function also works well for a display contest. Your display should be inviting to the point that customers find it easy to shop, which includes details such as available bags, great signage and even a nearby scale, if needed. Plan to bring plenty of product a day or two before your build your display so that is it absolutely fresh. Schedule enough labor for the job, and consider building the display in the early morning or even during an overnight shift to devote complete attention for the project.