Product of the Year judging underway

Posted by James Ferre on 13th October 2009

Product of the Year, Australia’s largest independent consumer survey of product innovation, has attracted 44 entries this year, with nine judges set to narrow down the field today.

The survey, initially started three years ago by infomercial advertiser ‘what’s new?’ and conducted by Roy Morgan, will this year be carried out by global research company TNS – in line with the global program.

Product of the Year manager Sarah Connelly was delighted with the number of entries this year, the first awards since Australia joined the global franchise.

“The number of entries this year shows that Australian marketers are serious about showing their customers that new product launches are not just a grab for their wallets, it’s more about offering the latest technology and innovation to improve our daily lives,” she said. “The Australian public will have the final say on these products, and give their endorsement to help other shoppers chose from among the hundreds of new products launched each year.”
Judges* will independently score each entry against a set of criteria, and the shortlist will be decided on points.

Survival of the fittest

Retail researcher Dr Sean Sands said the survival of products in the supermarket is becoming increasingly difficult as consumer behaviour shifts become swifter and competition increases.

“Recent research by ACRS suggests that consumers are seeking not only value in terms of low prices, but also value in terms of quality – smart brands and products are looking for ways to deliver value beyond price,” he said.

“Consumers look to trial new products that resonate with their lives. This may be in terms of simplifying their daily tasks, or aligning with their belief system which we are now seeing in ‘green’ or sustainable products.”

“These trends have emerged over the past two years of Product of the Year awards in Australia, and we expect to see more clues for product development from the 2010 awards.”

* The judges are: Woolworths general manager of supermarket & corporate marketing Luke Dunkerley (chairman), Today co-host Lisa Wilkinson, Daily Telegraph consumer affairs reporter John Rolfe, editor of Super Food Ideas Rebecca Cox, research fellow at Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University Dr Sean Sands, managing director of Blue Marlin Brand Design Dominic Walsh, executive director of consumer research at TNS Ray Crook, general manager marketing & commercial of TorchMedia Kirsty Dollisson, and Retail World deputy editor Lorna Gloria.