Denise Nathan says that, as customers lose interest in older forms of advertising, wide format printers can take advantage of Ambient: the ads you don’t expect to see
Ambient advertising, a phrase coined by the U.K advertising industry, refers to non-traditional advertising occurring outside the home. It has now become an established term within the wider industry. While Ambient is not clearly definable as specific advertising mediums, the general industry perception is that Ambient is the placement of advertising in areas unanticipated by the consumer and executed in a surprising, creative and unexpected way.
The demand for Ambient media has undergone significant growth in the last decade.
This growth has been fuelled by advertisers looking at different ways of standing out in a sea of advertising messages confronting consumers. Attention has become a highly sort commodity. Increased ad clutter and competition has led to consumers being bombarded with thousands of messages every day. The perception is that audiences are becoming desensitised and non-reactive to more traditional forms of communication.
In tough economic times, advertising and marketing budgets are usually one of the first expenses to be cut back. Advertisers who still wish to maintain their profile in the market are looking to get a greater return on their advertising spend as well as communicating their message with impact in an innovative way. This is where Ambient campaigns become attractive.
The other reason behind growth in Ambient can be attributed to the way consumers live their lives. People spend a greater majority of their time outside the home and lives are becoming increasingly busy. We are not as available as we used to be to receive marketing communication via TV channels, radios stations, newspapers, magazines and websites. Advertisers need to communicate with consumers during everyday activities when they are more available and receptive to communication.
More is more
Ambient places a strong focus on surprise, humour, creativity and interaction and aims to more directly capture the attention of targeted audiences rather than rely on selective attention such as a consumer driving past a billboard .The closer an advertiser places their message to a point of sale or at a point where the customer is in a mindset to react, the more successful the result.
Traditional advertising mediums are still regarded as effective but more advertisers are realising the value of integrating Ambient into their media campaigns. A brand needs to consider the different consumer touch points where their core audiences are found.
Seeing an ad on TV might create a propensity towards a brand or product but if the advertiser can maintain that connectivity once the consumer leaves home, up until the point they are in a position to purchase the product, the message and its influence have greater power. Seeing an ad for vitamins on TV, then on the bus as you drive to work, on the pavement outside the pharmacy and once again in point of sale advertising is much more likely to influence purchasing behaviour than a TV ad alone.
Ambient advertising works well as a standalone medium also. It can be far more cost effective than traditional advertising and the message can be delivered right to the target audience.
One of the biggest challenges for Ambient is the perception that it is more difficult to measure the impact and effectiveness compared to other more established mediums such as TV and newspapers. In fact, this is not always the case. Ambient is as measurable or can actually be more measurable then above the line traditional media.
Media measurement is not an exact science. TV is measured by consumer boxes sitting on people’s TV. Newspaper readership is based on masthead recognition, not if you saw a particular ad on a particular page.
You can just as easily measure how many cars enter a car park building and therefore how many people have the potential to view a barrier arm or lift campaign. You can measure how many people enter a supermarket and walk over a floor graphics at the entrance. Successful advertising is not just a one way conversation but requires a reaction and interaction on behalf of the consumer. Being seen is not the sole measure of success, a more personal experience is required and this is what Ambient strives to deliver.
Opportunity in Ambient
The ongoing success of Ambient relies on constant new formats and innovation in terms of execution and placement. This demand represents a significant opportunity for the sign and print industry. Advances in self-adhesive technology have increased the possibilities for advertisement placement. Films are constantly being developed to enable new applications on to more unusual surfaces.
Today, there are few limitations as to where a film can be applied. New products developed recently have expanded the possibilities. Advertising can now be placed on brick walls, outdoor concrete pavements, supermarket and baggage conveyor belts and the use of traditional graphics is becoming much more creative in its application.
Ambient advertising is an exciting medium driven by creativity, innovation, affordability and the ability to reach and engage with highly targeted audiences. The services offered today by the sign and digital industry perfectly complement the needs of ad agencies engaging in Ambient campaigns. By increasing our industries’ profile within this market and the solutions we can offer, Ambient advertising can represent an exciting and growing market for our business.