When it comes to reaching the peripatetic business traveler, airport out-of-home media are about as reliable as you can get. And when it comes to key locations, it's hard to beat Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
An estimated 67 million passengers came through O'Hare in 2010, a 3.8% increase over 2009. Highly coveted business travelers comprised the vast majority of those passengers, according to Pam Horn, national sales manager for Clear Channel Airports, which oversees the media placements at O'Hare. "Our business travelers have to travel and sometimes even more so in a recession," Horn said. "They don't stop flying."
The definition of out-of-home has ballooned in the last five years. Accenture's large-scale touch-screen board broke ground in 2006, providing viewers with interactive news and weather information. Last July, Clear Channel entered into a partnership with Monster Media to install large-scale touch-screen boards in eight U.S. airports, including O'Hare.
Advertisers rotate monthly on the boards, which invite users to interact with a brand in some way, such as entering an email address or writing a poem from random words on the screen, part of a recent Microsoft campaign.
Billboards at O'Hare International Airport
Phone: (610) 395-8002
Traffic: More than 67 million passengers estimated by O'Hare to have traveled through the airport
Ad revenue: N/A
Ad rate: N/A
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For Courtyard by Marriott, Clear Channel created a 20-foot display featuring a virtual lobby to show off the renovations taking place nationally at the hotels, which are frequented by business travelers. The exhibit included streaming data and a wall stacked with nine LCD screens.
"Clear Channel has always been a great partner," said Ray Rotolo, chief operating officer at Posterscope USA, whose clients include Courtyard. It is always eager to help clients "push the envelope beyond standard ad placements," he said.
"It's fair to say Chicago O'Hare is the crown jewel in Clear Channel's airport network," said Erik Bottema, director of Aviator North America, a division of out-of-home agency Kinetic Worldwide. (Aviator's clients include AT&T, SAP and Xerox.) Over the years, he said, O'Hare has shown great flexibility in allowing marketers to flex their creativity—everything from banner wraps to the ability to dominate successive pillars at terminal entrances and exits and sponsorship of its Power Stations, where travelers can recharge portable devices for free.
Clear Channel isn't stopping with mounted wall displays. It recently partnered with AdRailUSA to bring escalator-based advertising to O'Hare, installing 16 branded rail sets in its three domestic terminals. Fidelity Investments and Hampton Inns & Suites are using the escalator displays.
"It's a domination package," Horn said. "If you're looking to really target, you can hit all the choke points of the top three terminals." —P.R.
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