Forecourts and Motorway services not just for filling or emptying your tank


By Ivan Clark, OMC‘s Man on the Move

Many years ago you would only have stopped at a petrol station to fill-up your tank, and maybe get some emergency supplies, perhaps cigarettes, sweets and/or soft drinks.

Motorway services used to be particularly inhospitable environments, only used by choice for necessary refuelling and (dis)comfort breaks of all types.

In 2011 motorist’s options for where and why they stop are somewhat different. Motorway Services have had major upgrades and many BP service stations even cater for the M&S food shopper. Nearly all forecourts have a wide range of convenience foods and household products. They still of course sell motoring related stuff like maps, although that market must be nearing the end with SatNav and mobile handsets offering additional benefits in a more people-friendly manner.

If an audience is available and of interest to advertisers, it is likely someone will install some media and Forecourts are no different.

Nigel Clarkson, Sales & Marketing Director at Primesight, gives their positioning. “For us, the Forecourt environment works on two levels.  The obvious one is that it hits motorists for any automotive advertisers.  But it also works for convenience clients and impulse purchases due to the huge investment that the forecourts have put into their grocery offering.  The average customer spends over £15 on non-petrol products and our forecourt 6 sheets target this audience perfectly as they are walking into the store to buy a soft drink, confectionary or other impulse items.”

Over at Admedia, Managing Director Adam Mills’ comments, “Our research tells us that at a Motorway Service Area the top three reasons people stop and get out of their car are, getting something to eat and drink, filling up on petrol and going to the toilet. This means when they’re at one of our destinations it’s nearly always a planned stop with an intention to purchase.  Any advertising they see at this point therefore only needs to prompt or change what they buy and does not need to persuade them. It’s the Motorway Service Area facility that has already done most of the job, our advertising therefore only has to enhance the brand just before Point of Purchase.

Simon Sugar’s Amscreen have screens carrying a mix of local traffic news and advertising inside Forecourt shops and WHSmith outlets. They can therefore deliver prompt-to-purchase messages and ads for lifestyle, motoring and other brands. There are also the added bonuses of, the dwell-time people have while waiting in the queue to pay and the fact copy can be scheduled to run only at times suited to the audience and message, updateable in real-time as required.

Media, technology and advertising experts all forecast a mass-market explosion in location based services, advertising and promotions, utilising personal mobile devices.

Forecourts and motorway “malls” can therefore expect a significant increase in demand for their advertising time and space, a kind of prompt to participate.

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