These Ads Were Made For Walking: Marketers Turn to Psuedo-Cyborgs

Imagine a love child of the Teletubbies and a marketing-research guru and you've got "Adwalkers," a new form of wearable media increasingly used by marketers, including several TV stations and network NBC.

Adwalker, based in Dublin, recently opened offices in New York. It uses salespeople wearing high-tech, Internet-enabled Adwalker computers, complete with a video touch screen and portable printer. They walk around in public venues where the client's target audience is likely to gather, with the client's message beaming from their chest. These psuedo-cyborgs invite conversation, then interaction, through games, contest entries or special offers. They deliver both engagement and the ability to measure response.

"Walking around wearing a TV screen alone is still just a passive way of advertising. But this uses the front screen as an attraction tool, then leverages that moment into a platform to gather information, the holy grail of marketers," says Matt Fine, regional CEO of Adwalker's US operations. "It naturally promotes interaction, and consumers are happy to play a game or provide contact information in return for a special offer or promotion."



During this year's upfront presentations, NBC employed Adwalkers to promote "Today" by entering ad agency and advertiser clients in a contest at Radio City Music Hall, says Frank Radice, senior vice president for the network's in-house ad agency, The NBC Agency. Over 500 media-industry professionals provided their contact information. Later, they checked a special Web site after the event to learn whether they were the winner--and to find out more about advertising on NBC's morning show.

There was "a remarkable willingness to provide contact information and visit our special Web site as part of the "Today" contest," Radice says. "Adwalkers were able to target and individually reach hundreds of veteran media buyers and advertisers during the 2006 upfront presentations for NBC News."

Other television properties that have used Adwalkers include the NBC-Spanish language property Telemundo; WCTX in New Haven, Conn.; and new CW affiliate DNVA in Austin, Texas.

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