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When posters act as ice breakers

eAd-SGA_LiptonAds_ZuirchHBBy Clement Charles, CEO & Founder, AllTheContent News Agency

Since becoming an industry based on the emergence of various beneficiaries in private and public spaces, poster campaigns have grown with the advent of new spaces (public transportation, restaurant lavatories) and new formats (bus shelters, rent a bikes).

Today, the emerging tendency lies in dynamic campaigns, called “digital signage,” “adscreens,” or “public displays,” in locations boasting captive (shops and waiting rooms), segmented audiences (be they generalized, in train stations, or defined, in luxury fitness centers).

With the appearance of screens in trains stations, post offices, supermarkets, pharmacies or gas stations, Switzerland is hardly an exception, entrusting advertisement sales, and often content management, to specialists (Neo Advertisting, also active elsewhere in Europe), to screen owners (TPG), or to relevant departments in national agencies (IG adScreen at IPM, eAd at SGA). While such ads are starting to gain ground, it is nonetheless obvious both to players in the market and to outlets that screens are on the whole not noticed by passers-by, or worse, that most people don’t even know they exist, due as much to an absence of quality content as to their actual positions.

In 2006, we were pleased to participate in a test alongside Viacom Outdoor France: it offered intelligent billboards which called out to passers-by via their mobile phones, using an activated Bluetooth connection (billboards also invited participants to activate the function). Non-intrusively, the invitation begins with an authorization request, which, once it has been acknowledged, ensures that the person will at the very least direct his or her gaze toward the billboard. Accepting the connection will then relay multimedia content, in a smart balance of elements that will make sure the person is continually interested and that communications are justified.

As is often the case in the “efficient revolution” currently sweeping through the media industry, the next step will involve better client type segmentation, based on proprietary or third-party databases, with a view to sending targeted messages. As soon as a billboard engages in a dialog with a client, the process can only be beneficial, as it measures message effectiveness, in addition to increasing direct or indirect revenue.

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