While some marketers are yet to be won round by the benefits
technology can offer them, others are now embracing the latest offerings
as a vital way of increasing customer contact.
A growing number of media channels are the enabling forces behind a
number of recent initiatives - many aimed at reaching busy consumers on
New media creatives are out in force trying to tap into opportunities
that have yet to be exploited.
Car drivers are one of the latest groups to be targeted. Sony Music and
Warners Home Video, among others, have signed up to advertise their
wares on a digital TV network being installed at petrol forecourts in
Granada motorway service stations. The TV network, called The Gas
Station, will be funded by advertisers. Programming will include news,
weather reports, traffic items and safety messages - the programming
spots will all be sponsored.
’It is opening up a whole new world to advertisers,’ says Mark Healey,
director at On-Line Creative Media, which is operating the channel. He
explains that the cost of a 20-second ad slot for four weeks is a mere
pounds 220 because it is a fledgling operation.
In a similar move, BT is gearing up to trial a service which will reward
customers who listen to advertising messages over the phone with free
talk time. Customers key in a pin number, listen to a ten-second ad and
then get a two minute-long free call. Tony Benfield, BT Freetime product
manager, says the service is designed to appeal to students and
The pilot follows successful implementations in Sweden and Denmark,
which claim 10%-15% response rates to ads from customers. Recall rates
are also high: ’Because it’s an ad within a phone call, you have high
concentration rates,’ he says. Customers also fill in a questionnaire,
so advertisers can pinpoint their target audience by gender, age or
region. Advertisers will be charged 25p for each ad delivered. Similar
initiatives in the UK have failed to get off the ground.
Marketers are looking to mobile telephony too. Digital communications
agency Razorfish has joined forces with a number of companies, including
airline Finnair, to develop wireless internet applications which will
enable frequent fliers to check flight schedules and book flights using
their telephone handsets.
Passengers at Heathrow airport are also being targeted by marketers via
a new network of interactive touch screen and TV kiosks (see box).
Dedicated kiosks, such as the one set up for Honda by new media agency
Interesource at this year’s motor show, are also being implemented more
widely. The Honda kiosk comprised ’call to action’ advertising,
interactive movies, ’virtual’ car models, and data capture facilities to
generate customer leads.
The next internet marketing trend to reach the UK is expected to be the
’smart push’. Following on from e-mails promoting products, smart push
sends an all-singing all-dancing interactive e-mail to mail boxes.
But the new crop of marketing models are being met with some scepticism
by media buyers and industry commentators. ’Brand strategy in the
information age means you have to embrace the new technologies, but
there’s lots of hype,’ says Geoff Dowell, chairman at marketing
consultancy Dowell Associates.
Chris Hull, head of marketing at direct marketing firm, Customer Contact
Company, says: ’There is a concern that when people look at new contact
solutions the last thing they think about in the chain of events is the
Justyn Lucas, associate director at Media Campaign Services, believes
marketers will come up with appropriate solutions for projects through a
process of ’trial and error’. He says: ’Everyone is in the dark and no
one wants to be left in second place.’
Most agree that the convergence of the internet and digital interactive
TV will form the hub of the new media wave. But solutions may emerge
more slowly than is being touted. Cameron Piper, broadcast director at
Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB, says: ’If anything, new media at the moment
has got less impact than conventional messages - it’s not that creative.
It will happen, but later than you think.’
INTERACTIVITY AT HEATHROW
Travellers passing through Heathrow airport with a bit of time on their
hands will soon be able to order next week’s grocery shopping, sign up
to a dating agency, or check the latest news and weather - all at the
touch of a button.
UK company WAM Interactive is rolling out a network of interactive
touchscreen stations enabling marketers to target the 30 million
passengers who depart from the airport each year. The stations, called
WAMworlds, comprise between two and four TV screens relaying a continual
20-minute loop of advertising, an electronic messaging board and a
touchscreen terminal, which provide online news, sport and weather, and
access to advertisers’ web-style sites.
WAM Interactive managing director, Frances Dickens says: ’The stations
offer an impressive array of services.’
Advertisers that have signed up to the service include Avis, the car
rental firm, IT company Hewlett Packard, and Hugo Boss watches. Each has
developed a broadcast advertising strand and a site detailing
information about the product and company. HP is pushing its new palmtop
computer and people can order a brochure online.
Interflora is putting the finishing. touches to its application and will
go live in a fortnight. Customers will be able to use the touchscreen
terminal to order flowers online. Dickens says a number of other big
name companies will be on board in the next couple of months. These
include a supermarket which will provide a home delivery service, and a
dating agency. It has yet to find sponsors for the news, sport and
weather screens, which will be branded.
A data capture form on the site enables the company to put together
profiles of WAMworld users - a monthly draw for a bottle of champagne is
helping to entice 1000 people a week to fill in the form. Statistics so
far show that as many business travellers as holiday makers are using
Nineteen per cent of people leaving their details fly ten or more times
It will cost marketers pounds 125,000 a year to secure an ad spot and
web site space, which will run across the terminals throughout Heathrow.
WAM Interactive is promising advertisers exclusivity in their sector.
Dickens compares the cost with an average pounds 10,000 price-tag for a
full-page ad in one edition of a quality Sunday newspaper. But she
concedes that advertisers ’have definitely got to have the courage to
stick their neck out’.