Get in the mood for ambient advertising

By Jenny Orr on December 10th, 2009

What is ambient advertising?I first heard the term while working in New Zealand. The term started to appear in British media jargon quite a few years back but is now a standard term within the advertising industry. It refers to advertising that occurs in a non-traditional medium outside the home. For instance, printing a message on a little card at the bottom of a golf hole, on the handles of grocery carts or the security bars on a chair lift, on sidewalks, stuff like that. I love it because it can be so unbelievably creative and grab your audiences’ attention just at the right moment. For instance, the golf hole could have a message about golf equipment or some big golf event, the bars on the ski lift could have an advertisement for a hot chocolate. One time I had to get the attention of advertising people at a direct marketing awards ceremony. It’s dark, most people have had a few too many, and their only concern is what everyone is wearing, and who’s gonna win what. The client was New Zealand Post and they were trying to promote their mailing list services. This was of course the perfect audience, direct marketers. So we had the message printed on the bottom of the dinner plate. As attendees ate their food the message was revealed “Clean up at the RSVPs (that was the name of the awards) by cleaning up your mailing list.” Brilliant! If I do say so. Ha. One of my favorite ambient ads was a Burger King bag placed next to a statue of Ronald McDonald sitting on a bench. Love it.We should do more ambient advertising in the healthcare industry. B2B is a little tricky and of course healthcare technology specifically makes it even trickier, but anything’s possible when you think outside the.....physician’s office. For example, next time there’s a big tradeshow, find out more about the location and the possibilities of advertising outside of the tradeshow floor. Maybe you could get permission to put some advertising on the mirrors in the bathrooms that read something like “wash your hands of rejected claims”. Or what about printing  removable stickers on the side walk leading into the event that look like dollar bills that lead to your booth. At a dinner for phsyicians, steal my dinner plate idea and print something like “clean up your accounts receivable  with <your company name>”. Maybe you could print a message on medical booties to hand out to hospital staff about “covering healthcare technology needs from head to toe” or print on clipboards to hand out free to administrators...kind of getting into promotional item territory, but you get the idea.According to Wikipedia, the reasons for the growth of ambient advertising are:• A decline in the power of traditional media.• A greater demand for point-of-sale communications.• Its ability to offer precise audience targeting.• Its general versatility.Below are just a few links to some great examples. I could keep searching for days. By the way, 165,000 results came up when searching “examples of ambient media”. get out there and advertise!