Monday, November 14, 2011

Ambient Advertising



Isha Agarwal, Urvashi Jain | NMIMS, MUMBAI

A 30 foot Pizza hut logo on a space rocket, an advertisement put on an egg, a man popping out of water to show a banner to those having a boat ride!! - do you think advertisers are going crazy? No, they are going AMBIENT. We saw advertisements on TVs, read them in newspapers, heard them on radios, but now they are everywhere. Advertisements are now not restricted to the first contact point(home) or the second contact point(work).They are now creeping into the third world ( as they say it) of people – when they are simply walking or doing leisure activities. Well, such advertising has a name to it-ambient advertising.

The term ambient started making a buzz in the British media jargon in around 1996, but now it is an established term in the advertising world with a boom in this industry abroad and a growing one here in India. Ambient advertising is placing advertisements in unusual and unexpected places with unconventional methods. For ambient advertising the world is an advertising stage and everything is a potential advertising medium- golf hole cups, the sand on beaches and even the sides of cows!!

According to a study, the North Americans are exposed to on an average 3000 ads per day. Pretty mind boggling huh! This is the amount of media clutter today where consumers are becoming immune to traditional media of advertising. Add to this increased competition in crowded areas, proliferation of brands and short term focus in industry. These form the major reasons for the birth of Ambient advertising which aims to look at more innovative avenues to catch the eye of the ‘jaded’ consumer. Moreover it’s cheaper and more effective.

The best aspect of ambient advertising is that it has a huge scope for creativity and idea innovation. In fact this is the major reason why it attracts immediate attention apart from general visibility for the brand and pulling them to the point of purchase. With the rising demand of point of sale communications, no wonder why these ads are mostly put within 50 meters radius of the selling point. The main aim of these ads is to just introduce the brand and that too at a time when the public is least expecting it. The ‘unusualty’ of the message raises the level of interest and increases the willingness to expend energy to process the message. If you walk on the street and see an 8 foot long comb stuck on the entangled electric wires, you are bound to notice it, read ‘Rejoice Conditioners’ on it and then realize their aim to send you the message that rejoice conditioners can make your entangled hair smooth. Ambient advertising was first aimed at capturing only the 16-24 age group market owing to the media it used and the humorous message content, but now with its growing popularity it covers a very wide audience.

Ambient advertising has been doing very well abroad where public spaces are well organized and are in a controlled environment. That’s why they are easily visible on sidewalks, washrooms, parks etc. But in India where such things are uncontrollable and infrastructure is abysmal, ambient advertising is yet to become ubiquitous. But it has started in a big way in malls. An example of this is the attractive advertisement of JUICE salon in a mall in Mumbai where each of the steps of the escalator showed different hairstyles. One of the most important things in ambient advertisements is that the target audience and the utility of brand should be well bridged with the advertisement. If pedigree wants to promote a dog adoption drive then it needs to advertise in a place where many dog lovers can be tapped, which is public parks and not building escalators or petrol pumps.

Ambient advertising though has many advantages like being cost effective, more interactive and creative is not free from some disadvantages. Firstly, if the idea is copied and becomes common then it ceases to surprise. Also there are no set means to measure the effectiveness of this medium as compared to traditional media like TV, newspapers. Sometimes ambient ads may become too intrusive and invite a call for repulsion from consumers if they are perceived as invading their leisure times. In Sao Paulo, a clean city law was passed where all the ads –be it on billboards, taxis, shops- were all taken down.

Ambient advertising though has many advantages like being cost effective, more interactive and creative is not free from some disadvantages. Firstly, if the idea is copied and becomes common then it ceases to surprise. Also there are no set means to measure the effectiveness of this medium as compared to traditional media like TV, newspapers. Sometimes ambient ads may become too intrusive and invite a call for repulsion from consumers if they are perceived as invading their leisure times. In Sao Paulo, a clean city law was passed where all the ads –be it on billboards, taxis, shops- were all taken down.

But ambient advertising will always hold its case of bringing that ‘wow’ factor in advertising which hardly any other media can do consistently.
And the huge scope for more innovation keeps the spirit of advertisers high, when the whole world is your canvas- then why not!!

Pe ‘DEGREE of Innovation’
This was done by Pedigree to create awareness amongst people about dog adoption .Yellow Pedigree dogs were placed throughout Sydney and Melbourne which aroused the curiosity of the people in huge numbers which ultimately resulted in large scale dog adoption

KINGFISHER – The “HANDLE” that rocked the world
This was interestingly done in India where Kingfisher beer mugs were aped as door handles on various restaurants in India. This led to people taking notice of it without fail whenever they entered a restaurant, which did wonders for the sales of Kingfisher beer.

Amazing BRO!
In Switzerland a vegetarian chain restaurant fixed over-sized forks to trees in major parks and main outdoor shopping areas which resembled a piece of broccoli. Such an act symbolized freshness of the restaurant’s food and managed to catch the eye balls of the people in great numbers.

ASEEMA – “Where potential meets opportunity”
Aseema Charitable Trust wanted to promote the culture of educating the children in Mumbai in India. They came up with an innovative idea of putting an abacus on the roads of Mumbai so that literally every child could “count”. The ingenuity of this did marvels for Aseema.


REJOICE – STRANGLE THE TANGLE
P&G this time took advantage of tangled phone lines which were a common sight on the streets of Bangkok. To promote P&G’s line of Rejoice conditioners, a large green comb was placed on the telephone lines (which resembled long strands of tangled hair) reading: “Tangles? Switch to Rejoice Conditioners.”

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