Those in the ad game are always on the lookout for the next big thing. Although the next little thing lately has gotten some attention—-namely, the multitude of small screens now arrayed in places like elevators, lobbies and taxi cabs.
While “out-of-home” ads have long been familiar extensions of the outdoor business, the current preferred term is “digital place-based advertising” given the importance of context. The Digital Place-based Advertising Assn. hosted a conference Tuesday at the Hilton New York called “Video Everywhere.” Speakers included Captivate CEO (and former Outdoor Channel sales chief) Marc Kidd, USA Network personality Cat Greenleaf, UM chief media officer David Cohen and New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta.
By this point, WiFi and screen technology has advanced to the point that these screens are more than mere digital billboards. In the most creative hands, they can be dynamic venues for ads that influence consumers who may already be in places more conducive to a purchase. Not surprisingly, the screens are ubiquitous — about 108 million Americans have encountered a place-based screen in a single 30-day period, according to Arbitron.
“The beauty of it is that because the screens are all networked, we can tailor it to the environment or the daypart,” said Barry Frey, president and CEO of the event.
Greenleaf quipped, “I hear from my friends tell me, ‘Ohh, I was just thinking about you!’ but I know they’re just seeing me on a screen at the gas station.”
David Krupp, CEO of ad firm Kinetic, presented a case study about a campaign for Degree for Women, which was the No. 3 women’s deodorant behind Secret and Dove. After a comprehensive, multi-site campaign, which included targeting women at health clubs (a popular DPA location given time on treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers), Degree saw a 44% lift in “purchase intent.”
The overflow crowd at the Hilton space crawled over airline seats and other booths showing the myriad ways screens and dedicated content aim to deliver value. They used the word “architect” as a verb and debated the best role for DPA in overall media plans, especially vis-à-vis the growth of digital more generally.
Group M client services president Phil Cowdell said the difficulty of knowing what ads are connecting gives DPA (more predictable in some ways due to location) plenty of potential to grow. In fact, he maintained that the changes in the consumer landscape meant that large agencies should reorganize themselves into three simple categories: “video, audio and image” to help avoid assumptions that all video ads need to be delivered via TV. “And I think each of these starts with a lower case letter.”