'Gotcha' Advertising that goes Anywhere you are!
By Frank Campailla
It seems nowadays that anywhere there 's a captive audience there are advertisers looking to capitalize.
"It' s getting more difficult to reach the consumer when he or she is receptive and not distracted by three or four other things," said Marjorie Valin, vice president of public affairs for the American Advertising Federation. "Advertisers are trying to connect with consumers where they are spending time. It truly is a sign of the times."
Where's one place people are held captive? How about a gas station? When customers start filling up their cars with gas, the credit card monitor turns into a full motion video with an advertisement revealing hot buys in the station's convenience store. The video ads are playing at 21 Shell gas stations in Connecticut.
John Crane Enterprises in Bethany conceived and manages the video monitor ads for Shell. Crane realized many people purchase gas by credit card and do not have to go inside the convenience store to pay.
"In this age where it's faster and easier at the pump, people may not be aware of what’s inside the convenience store," said John Crane, a former WTNH-TV news anchor. "Pumping gas is completely idle time. Customers' minds are wandering and there is nothing to do. It really added a new dimension to retailing in this environment."
When an ad for Snickers candy bars ran on the videos, "unit volume at every location doubled," Crane said.
Another place where people have no choice but to wait is the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The Motor Vehicle Network, based in Oyster Bay, New York, does marquee style advertising at the 11 full-time motor vehicle offices in Connecticut and at other DMVs in the northeast. People waiting at the DMV can read advertisements and updated news on a six-foot-by-seven inch sign. The service is completely funded by advertisers.
"Advertisers can reach a captive audience waiting in the Northeast at the DMV for an average of 45 minutes," said Scott Savage, vice president of sales for Motor Vehicle Network. "The value the state sees is entertaining customers and helping reduce their perceived waiting time."
Anyone waiting at a bus stop or stuck in traffic is also a prime target for advertisers. Take the Connecticut Transit's wrapped-bus concept, for instance. "It's a big moving billboard," said Allan Watson, marketing manager for P&C Media-a division of Obie Media-based in Longhorn, Pennsylvania. P&C Media handles wrapped bus ads for Connecticut Transit.
Wrapped-bus ads drape the sides, back and front of a bus in vinyl. "It's like wallpaper," Watson said. "It' s a real attention-getter. Whatever your imagination can comprehend, we can put on the buses."
The idea is not new - just retooled. In the past, buses were painted and re-painted with ads. Now it's all computer-generated and printed on vinyl, which allows a multitude of colors. P&C Media did one advertisement for the Stamford Town Center Mall. It involved a Connecticut Transit bus wrapped in vinyl resembling a stretch limousine. On the back was an image of a trunk stuffed with packages featuring logos of the stores in the mall.
These unique, innovative ideas are proof advertiser s no longer resort to just television and newspapers to get their messages out. "Traditional print and TV has gotten so jumbled and expensive, " said Michael Kintner, president of Hartford-based advertising firm O'Neal and Prelle.
With the growing number of TV channels from which a person can choose, businesses cannot advertise on just one channel and reach the entire TV audience, as was the case in the past. Kintner explained, "You can advertise on NBC, and everyone watching the History and Travel channels will not see it."