Not for nothing is point-of-sale (POS) material also known as ‘below-the-line’ advertising, as opposed to the upfront, above-the-line stuff that you see on TV and on C-Store’s display and classified pages (go on, have a look, it’s the advertisers’ money that allows us to bring you this industry-leading publication for free - we don’t even charge postage).

POS helps to shift fmcg (stands for fast-moving consumer goods). And they don’t move much faster than choc bars.

Here’s another thought. Sometimes - in this world of instant communications - you can get really lost. I think that’s how Matthew Butler was feeling when he contacted the helpline, as his email shows.

He wrote: “Was just wondering if you knew if there’s any way for me to source POS display units, like the plastic/metal countertop ones or the cardboard ones - to promote a specific line? I’m not a convenience retailer (tuckshop), so not really your area, but I was hoping you could help anyway! Attempts to contact Mars UK, Nestlé and Kraft/Cadbury/Mondelēz have been fruitless…”

We like to be inclusive - Matthew is a retailer, after all - so we did a spot of research. I suggested a visit to a Hancocks branch might be useful, but it was some distance and all Matthew’s suppliers currently deliver direct.

He says: “I source stock from a small local wholesaler (no POS), from the company who operates Cadbury Gifts Direct as a franchise (short-dated stuff - their standard prices are astronomical).” He also sources from Hemmingways Marketing Services and from online shops, including Amazon on occasion.

I barely recognised any of these channels so decided to go direct to the big three. It helps that Mars, Nestlé and Kraft (Cadbury) care about their image in the retail market and the trade press, and that they all have efficient press officers to make sure that image stays good.

I contacted all three and coincidentally Matthew received two Nestlé POS stands. It would appear that one of his messages did get through.

I got quick replies from Mars and Kraft. Mars had a series of questions: Where was he located? (within a school in Cheshire) whom had he contacted at Mars? (through websites, Facebook and consumer services) how old were the kids? (secondary school).

I thought this was so that it could tailor the right sort of POS. But in the end, Mars took the moral high ground. The response was: “We work closely with retailers to drive their sales, which includes providing promotional display materials. However, we have strict marketing policies that mean we are unable to supply schools with branded materials.”

And Kraft had a question, too. Where is he so we can send someone?