Agency3 Communications

Is There Anybody Listening?
(And, if so, how can you reach them?)

With commercials creeping into every available crevice—at the movies, on television, onto the screens of web-surfers, on roadways—marketers have begun to search for new methods of transferring messages. Perhaps you’ve begun to notice some of these techniques, or maybe you’ve decided to remain impervious to any and all advertising (or so you think). Whatever the case, if companies—especially those in the marketing field—hope to keep up with the Joneses, they had better have a sense of these new trends and the advancements that may grow out of them.

One “new” tactic for transferring information to consumers is through kiosk advertising. Yes, you probably have heard of this avenue before and have perhaps considered taking it. Yet, it is a safe bet that the volatile and unpredictable nature of the medium prevented you from doing so. Welcome to 2006, where kiosks have become a less risky, more desirable, more prevalent form of advertising. The primary reasons for this shift include computing power advancements allowing for better graphics and designs, centralized placement in high-traffic consumer areas, increased usage in airports and other locations, and the diverse nature of the medium itself. People are looking for new packaging for their messages as well as innovative communication; therefore, sponsors and retailers are utilizing kiosks to relate their ideas. Drawbacks of this technique range from high-cost to lack of standardized offerings on interactive, self-service kiosks to a deficient network between kiosk owners and operators.

LED (or Light Emitting Diodes) billboards are another means of contemporary advertising. These devices, also called electronic billboards, display moving text and images through the use of a silicon chip. Although they were developed over fifty years ago, LEDs are only now becoming an extant advertising medium. Because of their convenience—the images can be altered daily with a mouse-click—and high-quality products, LEDs are being used to test outdoor marketing or to run campaigns that parallel those on television. It’s true that the cost of LED advertising is approximately twenty times that of regular billboards, but electronic returns—customer recall and increased sales—outweigh static billboard returns by nearly 50 percent. LEDs also permit for effective audience targeting, as ads can be shown during specific times of the day or placed on a continual loop, and operate on a variety of contracts—from one day to one year. And, if you haven’t seen one before, trust me, they can be fairly eye-catching. (Take a look at Piccadilly in London.)

Another method for unusual marketing involves Interactive Television Advertising (also known by as many aliases as Sydney Bristow—check out This medium involves viewers choosing to participate in their programming through the use of controls—like pause, rewind, and clicks to links during ads. Most companies who utilize ITV drop their ads in before and after programs that relate to their products. For instance, an upscale fashion boutique might supply a commercial, replete with interactive link to a website, after the show Project Runway ( Some producers of ITV programming feel that placing ads around their shows disrupts the flow of the broadcast and causes a number of viewers to leave the program. Of course, marketers and their clients hope that viewers will actually choose to watch and re-watch the ads as well as respond to the call to action. Larger companies—such as Reebok—have begun to develop on-demand programs, centered around ad campaigns, to see whether viewers will watch celebrity and sports figure interviews without a commercial message, aside from a basic logo. Whether or not this practice is wishful thinking remains to be seen; but, the presence of ITV advertising cannot be ignored (unless you’re really out of the loop).

These marketing ideas represent a minority of the fabulous techniques that are out there in the creative world of advertising. They range from car signage—wouldn’t you like to earn customers while fist-pumping along to Green Day?—to paying mascots to parade your wares at trade shows to underwriting your favorite radio station. I suppose the rub lies in knowing the available options and choosing the ones that are right for your company, your message, and your potential customers.

Marcy J. Savastano