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Ambient

Advertising-
How long will it
survive?

N L Dalmia Institute of Management Studies &


Research
Compiled by –

Reema Keswani
Mayank Ghatawat
Index

1. Changing Advertising Scenario

2. Need for Innovative Advertising

3. Ambient Advertising

4. 4 I’s of Ambient Marketing

5. The I-factor of Ambient Advertising


over Out-of-home

6. The perfect ingredient for the


marketing mix

7. Return on Investment

8. Sharpening the Differentiation via


Ambient Advertising

9. Ambient Advertising in India

10. Challenges for Ambient Advertising

11.Conclusion
Changing Advertising scenario

Today, the effects of media can be observed engulfing the lives of every
person who watches television, reads a newspaper, surfs the Internet or
takes part in a variety of other media influenced activities. These various
forms of media have become standard parts of many people’s lives,
however their affects on our society have been far reaching. Due to the
fragmentation of the media, our society has become more open to
viewing the diversity in our country due to media’s hand at reflecting
various different groups of people.

This just proves that Media has got fragmented, thanks to globalization.
The world has become a global village.
These are the various ways in which an advertiser can reach out to its
audiences.
Need for Innovative Advertising

The marketing communications arena is


undergoing arguably its greatest period of
change. This is a reflection of factors such
as the media convergence, major
technological innovations, and the growth
of ‘Integrated Marketing Communication’.

Increased competition in crowded


categories, short term focus in industry
greater focus on accountability, a decline
in media advertising effectiveness, and
the proliferation of brands has businesses
demanding more effective advertising at
lower costs. Concurrently, perception of
increased ad clutter arising out of the
information technology revolution has led
to a decrease in effectiveness of
traditional advertising (print, radio, television, billboards, and transit etc).

An added problem for advertisers relates to targeting ‘jaded audiences’.


In America alone, advertising expenditure is over $160 billion a year,
which buys an average of 1,500 person-exposures every day of which a
fraction are remembered and fewer still in a positive way, placing
estimates of wastage at as much as $40 billion a year. Factors such as
these have seen advertising agencies and clients choosing more ‘radical’
methods of advertising.
Ambient Advertising

Ambient actually comes


from a word called
ambience that means
surroundings. Also
known as Guerrilla
Marketing such
advertisements focus on
the use of an
unconventional media or
tactics, so as to
advertise a brand image on a budget that is low. Ambient advertising
aims at making the Ad-campaign outrageous, funny, creative and so
shocking that it creates a buzz whereby people are not involved with the
message but at the same time do a lot of Word-of-mouth publicity.
Whenever we come across an Ad message at a place where it is least
expected and has no limitations when it comes to shape or size, one can
term it as ambient advertising. It is advertising through an unusual idea
that is highly contextual as well as intrusive in nature. It is a kind of an
outdoor advertising that can be seen at unusual places in a medium that
is not commonly found.

Examples of Ambient advertising include a brand name advertised on the


handles of a supermarket trolleys. For instance, behind the car park
receipts at gas pumps, on elevator walls , telephones, post boxes,
escalator steps vending machines, lifts and even on the toilet seats of
public washrooms. Such advertisements reinforce the message
subliminally along with other exposed messages.

Unusual location is not the only point of difference for Ambient. The
method of execution is often unusual as well. Holographic projections,
role-plays and graffiti are a few examples of this and certainly fit within
the ‘something different’ imperative.
4 I’s of Ambient Advertising

Innovation

The declining power of the traditional media is prompting the advertisers


to use innovative ideas to make their communication effective and
noticeable. In this context, the next big ‘A’ of advertising i.e. ambient
advertising comes into prominence.

The very sight of an ambient Ad will create the “WOW!” factor in the
minds of the recipient. This is generated as an immediate response due to
the unique place and execution of the idea

Intelligence

Advertisers now believe in smart advertisement for smart people. It is


assumed that target audience is intelligent enough to comprehend the
idea and message behind an advertisement. What might first appear as
an absurd idea, suddenly clicks and interests the audience once the
underlying message of the advertisement is understood.

This again engages the audience and leads to a lasting image of the
brand and creates a recall for the product.

Interest

When an innovative Ad resonates with the intelligence of the viewer, it


triggers an interest for the product in the minds of the consumer. This
phenomenon can jointly be attributed to both innovation and intelligence.

Intimation

An Ambient advertisement, more often than not, will not reveal the entire
information about the product or the brand. It withholds certain
information on purpose for the consumer to figure out. It plays a vital role
in creating a first impression about the product among the consumers,
which would lead to inquisitiveness to know more about the product.
The I-factor of Ambient Advertising over Out-of-home

The key difference of ambient advertising over outdoor lies in its


innovative creation, implementation and execution. Some of the other
advantages that ambient Ads has over conventional media are:

• Greater emphasis on tactics such as surprise, humor, creativity and


consequently audience involvement and participation by receiver
reinforces the message.
• More engaging than out-of-home and hence less wastage. Unlike
billboards, selective perception in terms of noticing the ads for the
brands you would like to buy and for brands you would like to
ignore, is not applicable because such ads can’t so easily be
selectively overlooked.
• Draws upon incomplete image more than out-of-home. The
‘unusualty’ raises level of interest in consumer and hence their
willingness to expend cognitive effort to process message.
• Greater importance of reference group, opinion leadership,
resonance with target audience (‘like the ad like the brand’) - ie
Word-of-mouth
The Perfect Ingredient…

Ambient advertising can act as that perfect spice which can complement
any sort of cuisine. This can fill the need for that much required magic
ingredient to accompany every mode of promotion.

Adding a new dimension to Advertising

Advertisers have realised that the traditional media involves huge


expenses, consumed a lot of time to reach the target group and could
only reach a small audience base. These disadvantages of traditional
media are the success factors for the growth of advertising in new media
like Ambient Advertisements.

However, ambient Ads on a standalone basis may not be very effective as


people are very less likely to relate it to their daily life. On the other hand,
if such creative ideas are reinforced with other traditional media, it can
help to leverage the brand image and of course the sales. Thus, a careful
blend of various conventional and unconventional media to promote a
product is the key to success for any Ad campaign.
Hence, ambient advertising will be more effective when used along with
the main campaign, which will help the customer remember the brand
and push the product automatically.
Return on Investment

In this recession time, within the marketing industry, the Ad budgets are
being slashed. Marketers are being held accountable for every rupee
spent and all eyes are on the return on investment. Hence, it is time for
the marketers to focus on measurable and result oriented promotional
techniques that are efficient and cost-effective.

The marketers have to reach out to the customer rather than wait for the
customer to switch on the television set. It is the marketer who needs to
assure that their message occupies the top of the mind awareness slot of
their customers. Thus creating an impact in the minds of the customer
with this constrained budget is a challenging task for the marketer.

Ambient advertising thus fits the bill perfectly as it requires very low
investments. It thus comes as a sigh of relief as the investment is on the
lower side; the impact of it is not so. It creates a lasting impression,
reaches vast audience, creates a buzz and helps in brand recognition and
recall.
Sharpening the Differentiation via Ambient Advertising

Choosing among multiple options is always based on difference, implicit


or explicit. Psychologists point out that vividly differentiated difference
that are anchored to a product can enhance memory because they can be
appreciated intellectually. In other words, if you are advertising a product
you are most likely to give the consumer a reason to choose the product.
And if it can be done in an entertaining manner, it will have the maximum
impact.

Ambient advertising plays the role of entertainment here. For products


which satiate the same need or which do not have anything different to
offer, Ambient advertising can carve a sharp difference in promoting
them and catching eye-balls.

Thus, it can give a sharp differentiating edge to products which are highly
commoditized or fall in the me-too category.

For Example, an FM radio


channel like Red FM,
differentiating itself from the
clutter of other radio channels
is very difficult. Red FM
resorted to Ambient
advertising in a very subtle
way, wherein they advertised
on the BEST bus handles of
Mumbai and just above the
toilet seats at Fame Cinemas.

What created a huge impact in the BEST bus-handle Ad was its


placement, as most of the people are obsereved to be listening to music
while commuting.
Ambient Advertising in India

Advertising in India has come to age in respect of magnitude, intensity &


variety. There has been rapid & continuous change in the market place &
consequently in the practice of advertising. There also has been dramatic
acceleration in the pace & nature of change. This change has been
technology-driven & knowledge-oriented. It has the potential to widen &
deepen access to information & particularly in India, to cut across
socioeconomic lines.

Though in its nascent stage ambient advertisement is having a huge


potential in Indian markets. There is a growing need for advertisers to
come out with more unconventional to market their products.

Example:
SimplyMarry.com
used this innovative
way of
communicating that
they arrange
marriages.

Calcium Sandoz Creatively


used the pillar of a bridge
to depict strong bones.
Challenges for Ambient Advertising

Unusual locations are considered a defining characteristic for Ambient


advertising. However, ‘unusual locations’ lose their point of difference
with repetition and time, and so cease to be something different. This
suggests two things. Firstly, that if ‘unusual locations’ is a part of the
definition of Ambient advertising then, what might be considered Ambient
one day may not be the next, as audiences become familiar with any
given location and the point of difference or ‘unusuality’ fades. Secondly,
and related to the first point, is that Ambient could be seen as a
moveable term and defined by advertising norms of the day.

Defining Ambient on this basis is somewhat arbitrary. What might be


unusual for one person could have been seen dozens of times by another.
Consider the examples of transport advertising (taxis, painted buses),
transport tickets, shopping trolleys, hot air balloons, blimps, sky writing,
digital billboards etc. While these locations are different they are perhaps
no longer unconventional and have encroached on mainstream territory
by virtue of their repetition. Such advertising has attained a degree of
prevalence and although may still be considered unusual, has lost the
‘wow!’ factor – a key descriptor used by those involved in creating
Ambient campaigns.
Conclusion

In the current marketing world, the customers’ surroundings are cluttered


with Ads thereby reducing their impacts on their mind. With competition
on the rise and with the declining power of traditional media, marketers
have to come out with uniqueness not only in product attributes but also
in promoting them. Also, advertising occupies almost 60% of the total
marketing expenditure. Thus an Ad campaign using the minimum budget
for its design and for the media selected can ensure a lot of cost sutting
for the company. The budget amount so saved can be allocated to other
marketing activities. Consumers nowadays love creativity and are also
likely to remember those \Ads tht are unique in some way or the other. An
effective combination of an appropriate advertising message and an
appropriate advertising format is a must for success of ambient Ads.
Apart from being highly versatile ambient media offers targeting precisely
the right kind of audience. Advertising industry is highly dynamic and
needs to be driven by creativity, which is given rise to the most promising
ambient media.

Measuring the impact of Ambient Ads is a tough job for the marketers,
since the same cannot be tracked. By analyzing the sales figures and
depending on whether the same is increasing or decreasing, after the
campaign has been set, one can ascertain if an ambient Ad is effective.
The sales response will give an idea as to how well the ambient media
has been successful in catching the sight and attention of the people
coming across it. Brand recognition or recall with the targeted segment
can be another approach to measure the effectiveness.

As mentioned earlier, the effectiveness in terms of catching consumer


attention by traditional media is slowly diminishing due to cluttering
effect. Marketers want their Ads to be seen and retained by the customer.
With the growing concept of placing Ads at uncommon and weird places,
the most challenging job for any organization currently is to make a
strong impact at the first go. Companies are using places that are
commonly visited by target audiences for their Ad campaigns. Small ideas
can create a big impact if used properly. In western countries, this idea of
ambient advertising is being fully exploited as compared to that in India
where this concept is still in the warning up stage. Ambient Ads if used
with other advertising media can enhance the recall value of the brand
and can ensure that the customer stays reminded about the brand.
Ambient advertising has its tremendous potential, which many marketers
still need to focus on. Though successful implementation of an ambient
Ad is a challenging task, but if placed with unusual ideas it can woo the
customers and at the same time help advertisers achieve their purpose of
brand promotion.

As far as the survival of Ambient advertisement is concerned, it will


continue to grow as innovative ideas are generated. A large part of the
advertising resources are still unutilized and if these resources are
correctly identified by the advertiser or the marketer, there is a huge
scope for innovation and improvisation to flourish and tap the global or
Indian market.

Ambient advertising is a perfect blend of creativity and uniqueness.


Hence, Ambient Advertising will survive as long as new ideas keep
coming and innovation survives.