“Batteries”– for toysdirect.com, by Robson Brown Ltd.
Ambient media is the advertising industry’s Trojan Horse, in that it allows advertisements to “hide” in plain sight.
As a rapidly expanding sector, ambient media has gained a lot of traction internationally and locally. Favored largely by FMCG businesses and corporations such as Nestle & Unilever, it presents itself as an opportunity to tap into alternative advertising media vehicles.
While there has yet to be an agreed definition for the term, ambient media can be summed up as a non-traditional form of out-of-home (OOH) media. It is a flexible medium because there are no physical limitations – ambient advertising can either blend innocuously into everyday surroundings or act as a blatant, purposeful disruptor.
Here are 6 reasons why brands should incorporate more ambient media into their marketing communication plans:
- It opens up a wide playing field
One of the biggest pros of using ambient media is that it is, by and large, an unrestricted medium. As mentioned, there are no physical limitations as to what ambient media can accomplish. Advertisers can make use of almost any surface or empty space to place their brand or campaign message, from trolleys to petrol pumps or even toilet stall walls.
This open playing field provides many opportunities for brands to be the pioneers of new mediums. If you’re the first to advertise via a certain medium, you’ll be creating a new, refreshing experience for your target audience, one which will likely leave a lasting impression on them.
- It breaks the monotony surrounding traditional media
Ambient media allows brands to break the monotony that is so prevalent in advertising. For example, if you were to advertise in a newspaper or magazine, your target audience would come into contact with your ad and 20 other print ads like it.
Unfortunately, the high saturation of ads has led to desensitisation; because your audience comes into contact with so many ads on a daily basis, they pay less attention to each individual ad.
To skirt around this, ambient media allows your brand to advertise in a space and manner which is unexpected, thereby breaking the monotony. Ads can be crafted as a pleasant surprise, such as a sneaky advertisement on the back of coffee cup lids or as an eye-grabbing wake up call that can’t be ignored, such as this ambient ad by LifebrokerTM.
“Death happens” — by McCann Erickson for LifebrokerTM, an Australian life insurance comparator.
- It creates an all-round experience
When it comes to execution, ambient advertising is usually angled to be more creative than hard-selling, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t as effective as traditional advertising methods. On the contrary, because of the creative and unconventional nature of ambient media, it has the ability to grab attention and create powerful, all-round experiences.
Ambient ads allow for the incorporation of interactive elements and can also play on the senses, giving people things to not just see, but also touch, hear, smell and taste. This is more effective as your target audience will be able to interact with your brand in a more personal manner.
- It elicits immediate action
Ambient media is an extremely localised medium – many advertisers look to creating ads within close proximity of their points of sale. A localised ambient campaign can influence your consumers to take the immediate action to visit your store after interacting with your ad.
It doesn’t give time for your audience to lose interest or forget about your brand, as the time between them interacting with your ambient campaign and coming up to your storefront is drastically minimised. This makes it convenient for consumers to entertain their curiosity about your brand and can also result in a stronger intent to purchase.
- It’s a great way to reach millennials
Millennials, loosely defined as those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are the up-and-comers who are often claimed to be the hardest generation to advertise to. This is because most millennials tend to reject traditional forms of advertising and instead embrace personal relationships and experiences.
While this is often catered to via digital content and social media advertising, ambient media is also a great way to reach this demographic. As millennials are big fans of the unexpected, ambient media which can be sneaky, cheeky or just downright entertaining, is a great way to form relationships with them. It breaks the status quo that many millennials abhor and therefore, is more relatable to them than traditional advertisements.
- It can work for any budget
Lastly, ambient advertisements are very flexible when it comes to costing. As it stands now, ambient media takes up a significantly smaller chunk of advertising budgets, especially when compared to the budgets put aside for above the line advertising.
Seeing as the cost of ambient advertising relies very heavily on the type of medium chosen, campaigns can be crafted according to budgets without sacrificing on quality or impact.
For example, brands with a more restricted budget can look to ambient ads which are print based, such as trolley advertising. If you have more budget to play around with you can look towards creating bigger, bolder ambient advertisements.
An example of low-cost ambient advertising. Created for Y+ Yoga Center by Leo Burnett, Shanghai, China.
At the end of the day, ambient advertisements are very reliant on a strong marriage between concept and medium. It is how you employ your message in your chosen medium that will determine the overall effectiveness of your ambient advertisements.