The 'Place' in Place-Based Media: Where Marketers Want To Be

Haven't you noticed that nearly everyday another place-based media network materializes in health clubs, gas stations, transportation vehicles and transits, fast food joints, waiting rooms (doesn't matter what for), medical facilities (in and out lifestage), home entertainment locations, amusement parks, airlines, elevators, beauty salons, golf courses, check-out locations, airports, smart carts, babbling wall monitors, talking kiosks, malls (floors and walls), jukes, colleges, hotel rooms, bus shelters, and theatrical exhibitors.... Some companies, such as IdeaCast and SeeSaw, have even begun aggregating place-based networks for representation of their ad inventory -- vamping on the un-wired TV broadcast model to offer advertisers the ability to one-stop-shop in a given vertical and/or horizontal media silo.

As an acknowledgement of rite of passage, the place basers have successfully established a trade association, the Out Of Home Video Advertising Bureau (OVAB); their annual percentage growth is only second to the Internet; and most recently, consummated a measurement deal with Nielsen to produce monthly pocketpieces utilizing components of third-party provided gross venue traffic, presence in zone, notice-ability that will be coupled with primary Nielsen research conducted by telephone that would ascribe demographics and other important information to the gross audience estimates.



Over the years I've consulted for a number of place-based companies, such as Hotel Networks, Juke Box Network, Burly Bear (college) and Captivate, and taken meetings with myriads of others. A word of caution. Scale is great. Metrics are even better. Don't get me wrong. It is what the media community always clamors for. But in my opinion, it's the place in place-based media that is of primary importance to the marketer. The ability to connect with a community in a specific location and own the space. Let me share a couple of examples:

  • As part of a promotional package, the Gas Station TV Network is offering consumers the opportunity to submit videos for consideration. The winner gets national exposure. I wonder if the program would be more effective or meaningful to the community if winners were chosen by zip code radius rather than for national exposure. I'd much rather see someone that I know peering out from a fuel pump screen than a stranger. And the buzz. I imagine that virally Gas Station TV affiliates would benefit as friends and family spread the word and fuel up for a peek.

  • The Hotel Networks has always focused its attention on commercial messaging on TVs in the hotel rooms. What about the rest of the environment -- i.e., Do Not Disturb signs, bathrobes, magazines, newspapers, slippers, welcome kits, promotional items, pay TV movies, honor bar. All of these can be adorned -- not ad nauseum - with a marketer's messages, logo and/or loyalty programs to create a valued association between the consumer and the marketer.

  • The Pizza Network (code name) is offering TV monitors in shops for looping video with advertising messages. What about promotional material for the countertops, napkins, cups, house loyalty programs, video games on sites and pizza delivery alerts.

    In my estimation, place-based media offers a value proposition unique to our media community -- and I cannot impress upon its members the significance of owning an environment for a marketer to share with the inhabitant for the period of time they cohabitate.

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