Sales & Marketing

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Five great examples of how to use ambient advertising

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How many adverts are you exposed to per day? It’s estimated that in 2014 the average person in the UK saw anywhere between 125 and 900 advertisements in 24 hours!

They are everywhere – quite literally – so advertising is impossible to avoid. But due to advertisers’ dismay at the declining effectiveness of traditional marketing mediums, ambient advertising has increased in popularity over recent years

Let’s just say that it’s a competitive market and you want to think outside of the box as possible – ambient marketing focusses heavily on being as fun and entertaining as possible. What better way to be remembered?

Most of all, it relies on you being unprepared for it. Take, for example, an ad campaign by Monster.com. The job seeking agency asked the question, “Are you stuck in the wrong job?” Customers were presented with a foosball table where one of the figures was replaced by a ballet dancer figurine – and she was never able to kick the ball. 

Sure, one unlucky player got screwed over by the company in a game that was hopefully not betted on, but it leaves a lasting impression. And it was a subtle and simple ad to boot!

But while small changes such as the Monster.com campaign can make an impression, you need to upgrade in order to make a lasting impact. If you’re not only after some extra customers, but a viral buzz as well, then you may have to climb out of the safe zone.

Unicef set up a vending machine in busy streets advertising dirty water. Instead of different varieties of soda, it sold eight varieties of diseases found in dirty water. It is even more interesting that people actually put in a $1 – which ultimately was donated to the cause – to see what came out.

The campaign noted: “Thirsty? So are millions of people around the world with no access to clean drinking water. 4,200 children die of water-related diseases everyday. Help provide safe drinking water to developing countries.”

You can also rely on well-crafted stunts to do the trick. To break through the clutter of the arguably competitive market of pans, Supor launched a spectacular event outside shopping malls in Shanghai using a giant wok and in-line skaters dressed as prawns, pork, eggs, carrots and fish.

The food skaters flew up and down a ramp constructed inside the wok to demonstrate the non-stick surface of its, well, non-stick pans.

Success of the promotion with both clients and consumers included some quantifiable results: a rise in sales of 20 per cent in the selected Shanghai malls led to plans being made to take the event into second and third tier cities across China.

I’m pretty sure no one expects to come face to face with giant portions of fish and pork sputtering out of an equally gigantic pan on their way to the station. And who doesn’t love a good old skating spectacle?

Another important technique is to provoke emotions. It is essential to understand the role emotion plays in communication and to correctly understand advertising effectiveness. Puppies, babies or even attractive models are some examples of what you see in adverts. All are effective at generating an emotional response.

However, you can also do so by using something people can relate to. It may sounds obvious, but ambient marketing allows you to play to their tune in real-life.

To demonstrate how Motrin Ibuprofen targets your aches and pains, for example, the company sent out an over-ambitious shopper to walk around heavily populated areas on the last weekend before Christmas. With the help of a cleverly designed mannequin the team was able to make it appear as though the shopper¹s back was bent over at a 90 degree angle, proving that Motrin targets your pain where it hurts.

We all know the perils of Christmas shopping, especially the chaos of the last minute shop where you feel like your back will break under the weight.

Last of all, don’t forget that infiltrating another company’s product is also possible.

Colgate normally gives out small product samples at annual events like “Oral Health Month” to remind target consumers, especially kids, to take better care of their teeth after eating sweets. This method does not drive strong results as most consumers tend to forget the message, even if they have collected the samples. 

This led the company to try a different method. Instead of giving away product samples, ice cream and cotton candy were given out. The stick carrying the ice cream and cotton candy carried hidden messages. Once consumers were done the message printed on the tip of the stick shaped like a toothbrush reveals “Don’t Forget” with the Colgate logo. 

This simple message effectively reminded consumers to brush their teeth.

It just comes to show that you don’t need to go full-scale to get your message across, and that it doesn’t even need to be visible at first to succeed.

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