Magazine article Marketing

Elements of Surprise

Magazine article Marketing

Elements of Surprise

Article excerpt

Ambient media may use gimmicks, but it can also offer effective and sharply targeted delivery of the message.

It is variously called ambient media, virtual media, alternative media, ambush advertising and stunt advertising.

A common denominator is that it presents a message in an unexpected environment, in an unusual manner - or both.

But while ambient media depends on a degree of gimmickry, it is also capable of precise targeting.

Where better to catch motorists in a few minutes of stasis than at the petrol pump? Or odour-conscious commuters than strap-hangers on London Underground? Or gain a temporarily introspective audience of extrovert young men than at the urinals of their pub or club?

Despite its increasing popularity, the effectiveness of ambient campaigns can be difficult to quantify. Harry Torrance, sales director of Media Initiatives, says this is because "it's a very fragmented market crying out for a single sales point".

In an effort to convince clients of its effectiveness, many agencies specialising in this area are trying to measure the impact their campaigns have on sales.

One specialist, The Media Vehicle, is bringing measurement to its supermarket sites with independent test-and-control research.

While we wait for more of these techniques to become established, we rely on case studies to illustrate how well ambient media works. Here are a few we that we uncovered.

Client: Elida Faberge (Impulse)

Media sites: Cinemas, bus shelters.

Agencies: Claydon Heeley International (lead agency), Media Initiatives (ambient media co-ordinator), Boomerang and Adshel (media providers).

Cost of postcard sites, distribution of cards and daily replenishment: [pounds]5000 (estimate based on ratecard).

Results: 200,000 cards distributed, 22,131 coupons redeemed (11.07%).

Giveaway scented postcards were employed as part of a campaign for Elida Faberge's Impulse body spray. These were placed in racks set up in 155 cinemas by Boomerang Media. As well as acting as conventional postcards, they had tear-off 30p coupons.

As well as the scented cards, auditoriums of some cinemas were perfumed.

Boomerang has now extended its reach to younger people by establishing 'Campus Card' racks at 120 universities.

Client: Emap On Air

Media sites: Supermarkets, petrol stations

Agencies: Rocket (lead agency), Mother (creative), Media Initiatives (ambient media co-ordinator), The Media Vehicle (trolley and floor ads).

Budget: [pounds]500,000

Results: 13% increase in reach profile of 25- to 44-year-olds.

Seeking to raise the listening among women in their 30s for its Magic radio stations in Yorkshire, Emap On Air identified shopping and local motoring. Supermarkets were targeted for trolley ads and ads on till receipts. Women sent in receipts and tuned in to hear whether they had won draws to have shopping bills paid. Similarly, petrol pump nozzles ads carried a phone-in mechanic.

Client: Unilever

Media sites: London Underground.

Agencies: Initiative Media, Concord, TDI.

Costs: Whole train advertising [pounds]16,000 per month, but normally contracted for a year.

Results: Too early to say.

The idea of employing a replica deodorant pack as a strap handle on the Tube is credited by Mike Baker, marketing director of TDI, to outdoor specialist Concord. …

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