How Your Event Can Own the City
Many industries have made their trade events into a city-wide spectacle. The media takes notice of annual affairs such as Comic Con in San Diego, Fashion Week in New York City, and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Some corporations have elevated their expositions into an extravaganza, such as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose. Hasbro has also adopted this strategy and will be hosting their first trade fair HASCON on September 2018 in Providence, Rhode Island. While you may perceive your corporate event, annual meeting or convention as a humble gathering in comparison, it could be bigger than a business function; it can be a cultural phenomenon.
FOMO. It’s real. The psychological phenomenon is also known to consumer and political analysts as the bandwagon effect. As defined by Investopedia, people will participate on something primarily on the reason that other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override.i Event organizers can cultivate this behavior with the right messaging and strategic distribution plan within the host city.
Herald your event at the city’s gateways
It is a welcoming confirmation for your guests, and the uninitiated, to see your messaging meet them as they venture into the city. Each placement is a buoy for the diffuse community, leading individuals to an experience rarely found without the leadership you are offering. Procuring big ad buys in mass transit hubs to display concurrently during your event offers an opportunity to reinforce your brand to the greater public.
Airports offer open interior spaces are ideal for large-format advertisements against blank walls and sky-framed windows, with few clutter in between. It is a great place to communicate with consumers open-minded to suggestions for destinations. According to a survey by the Centre of Aviation:
- 85% of passengers enjoy airport advertising
- 71% say they have time to read advertising messages
- 73% are looking for ideas for things to do and places to visit
Niche trade shows attract a skewed consumer group, but organizers shouldn’t dismiss OOH placements. Airports are the best locations for Business-to-Business (B2B) advertising. As a travel nexus for the city and region’s decision makers, airports ad space is well suited for promoting industry events, as well as vendor products and services.ii
Mass transit systems offers access to a more abundant and diverse audience set. Adverts ornamenting boarding platforms, hallways, shelters and car interiors are seen repeatedly by local commuters on their daily route. Placement options include potential saturation of messaging without competition for attention. Considering the length of time riders are exposed to ads while on platforms and city vehicles, dwell time is comparable with that of online video ads.
A 2016 Nielsen Out-Of-Home advertising study reports for U.S. residents age 16 or older:iii
- 53% noticed a poster advertisement in the past month
- 37% noticed a bus shelter advertisement in the past month
- 56% noticed ads on the side of public buses in the past month
- 39% noticed ads on taxis or other vehicles in the past month
- 50% of those who commute to work think about what they would do later that day, 23% are planning their weekends
Some technology companies are finding success with this marketing strategy, once considered unorthodox to their industry. Chieh Huang, CEO and cofounder of Boxed, spoke to the New York Business Journal the benefit after having advertised within New York City’s subway system. Mr. Huang attests the big ad buys separated his organization from competitors who rely solely on online advertising. “An online banner ad is something you can buy with a very minimal budget, but out of home, there’s an air of legitimacy around it.”iv
Transfigure the streets with your messaging
A creative advertisement has the potential to become a transformative fixture to familiar surroundings. An oeuvre print changes the aesthetics of its achromatic environment. A written word on a kiosk may alter the ambiance. Your creative team must be conscious of the advantages of the medium, whether it be street furniture, newsstands, or billboards. When executed well, the message is carried away with its audience to be shared with others. Event organizers cognizance of their guest’s engagement with the social space may be applied to crafting effective street ad campaigns.
The 2016 Nielsen Out-Of-Home ad study found:v
- 61% of U.S. residents age 16 or older have walked around in a town, city or downtown area in the last month
- Among those who walk, 19% spend 3 hours or more on foot per week
- The average amount of time spent walking is 2 hours and 14 minutes per week
- 47% of U.S. residents age 16 or older noticed a street level kiosk in the past month
Billboards remain to be a powerful psychological platform. It gives form to a product or brand as a dominating entity in the physical world. When passerby gazes on the modern-day obelisk the world is eclipsed. It looks down upon us and we look up to it; Our eyes deconstruct the colossal image, picking up details without meaning to. The observer is left amused by the juxtaposition within a mundane landscape. Businesses competitive for the publics admiration are rediscovering this effective medium.
Hollywood and technology companies are particularly invested in high-visibility air rights. Apple is the second top national billboard advertiser, after McDonald’s. And Netflix has at least eight billboards on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip.vi New York City’s Time Square is hyper-saturated with animated branding running on multi-storied digital billboards termed ‘spectaculars.’ The classic billboard is interpreted by some as product of a different era, but the effect of the larger-than-life displays offer a more practical than vain rewards.
On NPR, Brian Alexander with Billboard Connection, a billboard advertising agency, explains the appeal: “Billboards cannot be turned off, deleted, thrown out, have [their] channel changed and so they’re in your face.”vii The 2016 Nielsen out-of-home ad study supports Mr. Alexander’s assessment. 91% of U.S. residents age 16 or older, who have traveled in a vehicle in the past month, noticed some form of OOH. The same study found 71% of digital billboard viewers find those ads to stand out more than online ads.viii
Unlike internet or mobile advertising, out-of-home allows advertisers to reach target audiences in a specific, real-world context. Traditional kiosks and digital signage are great ground-level platforms scattered across the city. Marketers should adopt a proactive stance of researching where the ad space resides, thus improving the efficiency of the campaign. Scouting is easily done with Google Maps’ Street View, but a visit to the site allows for vetting of potential issues such as visual obstruction due to construction. Hand pick locations near institutions or spaces that serve your target demographic.
In the case of Hollywood’s interest with the Sunset Strip, Nancy Fletcher, president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, provided NPR the following insight: “If you are a movie, you could target a studio. If you’re a star, you can actually put it on the way, if you know which way they drive home.”ix
A host city is more than a backdrop for a corporate event. It is a venue, an exhibition and a participant. Every resident within the metropolitan area is a guest awaiting their invitation. Deliver your message on their terms to initiate a relationship with the residents and loyal visitors alike. Be selective in where your placement resides and mindful on what your target audience will want from your organization. It doesn’t require much for their interest to become FOMO.
i “Bandwagon Effect.” Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bandwagon-effect.asp. Accessed 27 May 2018.
ii “Airport advertising – an overlooked revenue opportunity. CAPA’s guide to the state of the art.” CAPA - Centre for Aviation, 7 May, 2015. https://centreforaviation.com/analysis/reports/airport-advertising--an-overlooked-revenue-opportunity-capas-guide-to-the-state-of-the-art-220188. Accessed 22 May 2018.
iii Williams, Diane. “Out-Of-Home Advertising Study: Nielsen on Location Report 2016 Edition.” Nielsen, http://www.jcdecauxna.com/sites/default/files/assets/street-furniture/documents/studies/nielsen_oaaa_ooh_advertising_study_2016.pdf. Accessed 24 May 2018, pp.15-16, 28.
iv Fischer, Ben. “For tech startup advertising, what’s old is new again: the subway.” New York Business Journal, 27 Jan. 2015, https://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/blog/techflash/2015/01/for-tech-startup-advertising-whats-old-is-new.html. Accessed 14 May 2018.
v Williams, Diane. “Out-Of-Home Advertising Study: Nielsen on Location Report 2016 Edition.” Nielsen, http://www.jcdecauxna.com/sites/default/files/assets/street-furniture/documents/studies/nielsen_oaaa_ooh_advertising_study_2016.pdf. Accessed 24 May 2018, pp. 11, 15.
vi Glinton, Sonari. “On LA’s Sunset Strip, A New Golden Age Of Billboards.” NPR, 21 Apr. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/04/21/602833949/on-las-sunset-strip-a-new-golden-age-of-billboards. Accessed 14 May 2018.
vii Glinton, Sonari. “On LA’s Sunset Strip, A New Golden Age Of Billboards.” NPR, 21 Apr 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/04/21/602833949/on-las-sunset-strip-a-new-golden-age-of-billboards. Accessed 14 May 2018.
viii Wehner, Michael. “DIGITAL OUT OF HOME: REINVENTING SIGNS FROM BILLBOARDS TO JUKEBOXES.” Adage, 04 May 2017, http://adage.com/article/agency-viewpoint/digital-home-a-invention-advertising-s-origins/308906/. Accessed 14 May 2018.
ix Glinton, Sonari. “On LA’s Sunset Strip, A New Golden Age Of Billboards.” NPR, 21 Apr 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/04/21/602833949/on-las-sunset-strip-a-new-golden-age-of-billboards. Accessed 14 May 2018.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: William Chung
William is a member of MultiVu's distribution team. He joined the organization in 2012, starting his career in online video distribution. Mentorship within MultiVu expanded his career path into the broadcast and OOH fields.
As a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Illustration, William is trained in the visual narrative. His creative contributions for MultiVu include PSA packaging design and content for social media.
MultiVu, a Cision/PR Newswire division, produces and places compelling content strategically across multiple channels globally to deliver targeted results and drive desired engagement. Created in 2002 from network news veterans and media relations professionals, MultiVu has grown into a content creation and media strategy company, leading in the broadcast communications industry. More information can be found on www.multivu.com.