ADVERTISING

Consumer brands choose airports as locations for innovative marketing campaigns

Being high-traffic locations with a diverse and international mix of consumers, brands see airports as an interesting platform for marketing campaigns. Frequent flyers in particular form a high value, influential and cosmopolitan audience for both brands and airports.

Research from leading airport advertising company JC Decaux learns that the average income of frequent flyers is around 30 percent above that of the local population, with business travellers being quite tech savvy as well.

Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, brands are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers on the go.

Furthermore, faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, brands are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers on the go, with a number of forward-looking brands using the airport as the stage for experiental and digital marketing campaigns.

We have selected some of the most creative initiatives that recently have been launched at airports around the globe.

Heineken ‘Departure Roulette’
In mid-2013, Heineken and its ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in New York set up a board at New York’s JFK Airport 8 and dared travelers to play ‘Departure Roulette’ —changing their destination to a more exotic location. The game was inspired by ‘Dropped’, a Heineken webisodes campaign from W+K Amsterdam in which four men are sent to remote destinations and film their adventures.

Travellers who happened to pass by Terminal 8 were given the opportunity for an adventure of a totally different kind, and asked to exchange their current plans for new ones. Those who decided to take the challenge were then asked to press a red button on a billboard showing them their destination. Participants had to agree to drop their existing travel plans—without knowing the new destination first—and immediately board a flight to the new place.

Those who were spontaneous enough to brave the unknown were rewarded with exotic destinations such as Morocco, Thailand and Cyprus. They were also given USD2,000 for expenses, along with two free hotel nights for their trip. Video of the campaign here.

In the fall of 2013, Heineken and W+K revisited the concept of unscheduled trips in a sequel to their popular Departure Roulette stunt. For the follow-up, the brand made surprise visits to people who had tweeted during the earlier campaign that they would want to try Departure Roulette—and let them do so.

Douwe Egberts ‘Bye Bye Red Eye’
Coffee company Douwe Egberts (DE) in July 2013 perked up weary travelers at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s busiest airport, with a vending machine that dispensed a free cup of coffee when they yawned. The coffee machine used facial recognition software to spot when someone yawns. It then dispensed a free cup of coffee to help the traveler make it through the rest of their journey.

The coffee machine was set up by DE and ad agency Joe Public at the airport’s International arrivals terminal and dispensed more than 200 free coffees to the tired general public who managed to figure out how the machine worked. (There was no place to put money as the only currency the machine dealt in was yawns).

DE says it chose the airport as a prime place full of weary passengers and plenty of yawning. Video of the campaign here.

Anthon Berg ‘The Generous Upgrader’
Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg wanted to sample their chocolate at Copenhagen Airport and at the same time demonstrate their  philosophy of generosity. So the company and creative agencies Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, created the ‘Generous Upgrader’,  a stand in a promotion area with an Anthon Berg stewardess present to assist travelers with scanning their boarding cards, which will reveal the type of upgrade their seat has earned them. The worse the seat, the more generous the chocolate upgrade. Or as Anthon Berg put it: “Good Chocolate For Bad Seats.”

For the ‘Generous Upgrader’ kiosk, software was developed that utilizes the information held within individual boarding passes and combines it with data from SeatGuru, a TripAdvisor company that has mapped out seating plans of airlines around the world. Video of the campaign here.

Marriott-branded security checkpoint
In October 2013, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport partnered with SpringHill Suites by Marriott for a three-month pilot that aimed to provide a more calming environment for passengers at the TSA checkpoint. Lounge seating and screens displaying real-time waiting times have been installed at the entrance to DFW’s Terminal E, E18 security search zone, while ambient lighting, stylish decor, wall art, and relaxing music have been implemented in the queuing area. Once the passenger has completed the security process, they can re-pack their belongings in a comfortable ‘re-composure’ area, which features furnishings from SpringHill Suites.

The ‘takeover’ of a security checkpoint by Springhill Suites by Marriot is the latest example of how  consumer brands are teaming up with airports to offer passengers free, branded, airport amenities such as charging zones, video and music rooms, and gaming stations.

The concept was initially proposed by SpringHill Suites last year and its implementation was directed by SecurityPoint Media in partnership with a number of creative agencies.  Marriott International’s Senior Director of Brand Marketing, Select Service Brands, Craig Fowler, said: “SpringHill Suites delivers stylish spaces that allow guests to relax and refresh, and the idea was to extend that same hospitality to the airport security area, where so many travellers’ journeys begin. We hope travellers will enjoy the unexpected and pleasant surprises they’ll experience in what can often be a stressful environment.”

A similar, slightly toned-down version of the innovative checkpoint has also been implemented at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Brand Spaces
The ‘takeover’ of a security checkpoint by Springhill Suites by Marriot is the latest example of how  consumer brands are teaming up with airports to offer passengers free, branded, airport amenities such as charging zones, video and music rooms, and gaming stations.

Branded or sponsored services offer a very interesting opportunity for airports to offer passengers free and up-to-date amenities without having to invest themselves. And for brands, offering passengers a relevant and thoughtful service that embodies their brand – or lets passengers try their latest products in a relevant setting – is a much more powerful way to engage their target audience than traditional advertising.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in particular has embraced this branded amenities concept and has established innovative partnerships with well-known brands in order to enhance the airport experience. Example features play areas branded by French kids TV network Gulli, a high-definition cinema lounge sponsored by Sony, Samsung SoundCorners, Sony ‘Playstation Poles’, Samsung-branded ‘Power Poles’, and Philips light therapy pods which passengers can use to fight jetlag.