There isn't much advertising real estate that hasn't been exploited as marketing messages, from coffee sleeves and sidewalks to elevators and the back seats of New York City taxis. But untamed territory remains. Handrails on airport moving walkways and escalators are now fair game for markers.
Clear Channel Airports has begun experimenting with out-of-home marketer AdRail USA to bring escalator-based advertising to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
The first of AdRail placements for Hilton are on all 16 rail sets at the airport, across all three of O'Hare Airport's domestic terminals. The ads, which are running until the end of December, reach Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Eagle, American, Continental, Delta, Iberia, Lufthansa, Northwest, Spirit, United Airlines, United Express, and US Airways airline passengers, among others.
The airport is the second-busiest in both the United States and the world, serving over 69 million passengers annually, per CCA.
"We are the first experiment [for AdRail] in North America," says Pam Horn, national sales manager for Clear Channel Airports. If advertisers are interested, the plan is to move beyond O'Hare. "We are going to expand where and when it becomes appropriate in terms of size and location," she says.
She points out that CCA has 210 regular airports, located inside and outside the U.S. It services 32 of the top 50 U.S. markets with major airports. "One of the beauties of this is that the rail travels with passengers on the moving sidewalk. It brings brands an opportunity to have longer engagement with passengers," she says.
Horn says the ads have appealed to many marketers.
"Originally, we had thought it would lend itself only to a couple of market categories -- B-to-B for one -- since a lot of airport traffic is frequent flyer business. But we are in conversation with retail products, technology and financial services. The demographic we deliver is upper-income, educated business travelers. Frequent flyers are very hard to reach; this is an excellent way to do that."