By Ivan Clark, OMC‘s Man on the Move
It is a testament to the demand for advertising in UK malls that there are seven OMC members selling media and promotional space within them.
As a long-term resident of an inner London borough I rarely went to malls until Canary Wharf became easily accessible at weekends and Westfield London opened. This year what could be my local shopping mall will open at Westfield Stratford, also gateway to the Olympics.
I have however long been aware that malls offered an environment where many different OOH formats were available, plus the opportunity for interesting uses of experiential and technology.
Some five years ago however, demand from advertisers and their media agency’s was not as strong as it is today.
I remember as an Outdoor Specialist visiting many media agencies to present them with some facts about the mall audience and the number of different media choices available in the UK’s number one, out-of-home leisure “destination”.
The numbers of visitors could be massive; people were likely to be in a relaxed frame of mind, shopping as a family, in proximity to high-ticket-price items and many, many impulse purchases.
Surely there was a special value for the media, people were there to spend and entertain themselves after all.
It was only when a friendly communications strategist told me how they viewed things, I realised there was a problem.
Yes we described the audience well; however what we weren’t appreciating was how easy it was to target them already, albeit not as close to purchase. They were likely to be above average viewers of commercial TV, including satellite and cable and big readers of general interest and celebrity magazines, with page after page of advertising availability.
These media could be bought cheaply commodity-style and they also fitted then current econometric models. OOH media was in his view, and he believed many others, less accountable in terms of impact and effect, and therefore not high on the shopping-list of many media plans, except for certain fashion and lifestyle brands.
That appears to have changed, perhaps as part of the shift to “touchpoint” planning, the fragmentation of some other media and more recently much talk about “location-based” advertising.
It looks to me that finally there is recognition of the intrinsic value of the mall shopper.
There is not enough space here to air the opinions of all the companies now selling media in malls.
Over the next week or two I will post a number of bulletins about OMC member initiatives or just current great uses of their media.
If in the meantime if you’d like to check-out who sells what, see below.
Canary Wharf Media offer 6 Sheet posters and their digital equivalent, reaching a different type of Mall audience from the norm, on weekdays at least. Weekdays the audience has a high-end city-worker profile, the area is chock-a-block with financial and blue-chip head offices.
CBS Outdoor and Ocean Outdoor between them sell formats inside and in proximity to Westfield London. Formats include LCD pods (like dynamic 6 sheets) and LED spectaculars. CBS will soon add Westfield Stratford to its portfolio, which is not only home of the 2012 Olympics but will be the main entrance to the Olympic park during the games.
Limited Space have more opportunities than you could fit in your shopping bag, ADlifts, AD HD (screens with optional interactivity) , ADImpact+ (specials) and Panoramic banners, they are particularly good for so called mall dominations.
Peel Advertising can sell you sorts of poster formats, light-boxes, giant screens and promotions in a number of flagship malls.
If you include airports like Gatwick as malls, and maybe you should, Eye Corp should also be on your shopping list.
Whatever the creative message, there must be a media format here to deliver for any brand.
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