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Airports: A B to B Advertising Mecca

Considered one of the most highly desirable ad locations anywhere, airports attract the most dominant business to business advertisers.

By Heidi Kershaw, OAAA

Considered one of the most highly desirable ad locations anywhere, airports attract the most dominant business to business advertisers.

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  • The out of home advertising industry posts more B to B ads in airports than any other transit hub, urban business center, or elsewhere.

    One outdoor ad company’s airport displays deliver over one billion targeted advertising exposures annually and every day, the company’s digital ad networks reach 6 out of 10 American air travelers. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America’s airport research indicates 81% of frequent flyers can be reached at least once during a three-month ad campaign and 82% of frequent flyers say they actually read airport advertising. This is the kind of attention advertisers die for.

    Out of home advertising in airports captures the attention of passengers every step of their airport experience — as they enter via ticketing, proceed along the concourses, at gate areas and in the jet bridges as they enter the aircraft. On the plane, advertising can now be seen on seat backs. Upon return, add baggage claim and ground transportation, and the power of airport advertising is omni-present.

    With more people traveling by air than ever before, it may be the only ad medium with a growing audience which is certainly contributing to the strength of airport advertising. Airports provide a unique way to reach a highly attractive, elusive audience. Because frequent business travelers are the backbone of the airline industry and airports are where more influential and affluent people congregate than anywhere else on the globe, the outdoor ad industry regards airports as practically a point-of-purchase for business to business marketers.

    The growing visual creativity and emerging technology of today’s outdoor ads are capturing the attention of the hard-to-reach business traveler. Unlike most traditional media that’s finding new technologies are making it harder to hold onto their audience, the opposite is true for outdoor. The cutting-edge digital technology currently being introduced in airports goes hand-in-hand with the airport trend of creating kiosks for passengers to expedite and arrange their own travel needs. This technology includes the use of Bluetooth and text messaging that allows hectic business travelers to interact with ads and digital networked signs. Digital ads with the ability to change content instantly permits airport advertisers to change the text of their ad every few seconds from a remote location. Thanks to this new digital media, the oldest ad medium is undergoing a radical transformation and outdoor ad companies reports they’re having great results from the interactive displays in stalled in a number of airports.

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    According to Helene Goldfine, Vice President of Research for Clear Channel Airports, new categories are emerging in airport business to business advertising. For example, legal firms have become one of the largest segments of airport advertisers. Lawyers have decided that if they want to hire lawyers, they should advertise where lawyers are -- in airports. Goldfine notes other airport trends include campaigns going into multiple airports for longer periods of time. And since the FAA began mandating passengers arrive at airports at least one to two hours prior to departure, advertising viewing time in airports is now measured in hours, not seconds or minutes as with other media.

    One of the biggest trends in advertising in airports is toward domination and larger size displays -- as in 'construction site' size or 'indoor outdoor.' Current thinking is 'the bigger the better and then let's go bigger than that,’ according to Bob Cilia, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at J.C. Decaux NA. Advertisers want new ways to dominate in the airport environment and are using larger format signs to do that. To Cila, airports are literally cathedrals where advertising stands out.

    The future of airport advertising will bring more innovative and interactive advertising designed to enhance the ambience of the airport, improve services to passengers, and provide state of the art solutions to enable advertisers to reach their target audience.

    For more information on out of home airport advertising, contact Alexandra Walsh at 301-523-3318 or Heidi Kershaw at 202-833-5566

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