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Promo Partner Personals: ATM:ad offers a one-on-one outdoor pipeline to parents

When it comes to outdoor ad planning, a common knee-jerk reaction is to either buy up billboard space in heavily trafficked areas or plaster print posters on buses and subways. But that only leaves you seconds to make a brand impression. This summer, the marketing department at Five in the U.K. chose a different route to promote its kid-targeted Milkshake TV block, going with a strategy that not only guarantees a hefty number of impressions with moms and dads, but also leaves these gatekeepers with a take-home reminder to tune in.
September 1, 2005

When it comes to outdoor ad planning, a common knee-jerk reaction is to either buy up billboard space in heavily trafficked areas or plaster print posters on buses and subways. But that only leaves you seconds to make a brand impression. This summer, the marketing department at Five in the U.K. chose a different route to promote its kid-targeted Milkshake TV block, going with a strategy that not only guarantees a hefty number of impressions with moms and dads, but also leaves these gatekeepers with a take-home reminder to tune in.

In partnership with Fife, Scotland’s ATM:ad, Five has been running full-color advertising on Nationwide Financial Institution’s bank machines since June 2004. Basically, the initiative generates four key interaction points. As consumers step up to the ATMs, they are treated to a 10-second, full-screen loop of video or animation. Then while they wait for their cash and transaction record, the processing time is filled with another five-second teaser. A final static message appears on-screen at the end of the transaction, but folks who request a printed receipt will also take home one final plug.

According to research conducted by London’s Questar, 70% of people who use Nationwide bank machines at supermarkets have kids under age seven. But above and beyond this eye-catching stat, early results from the initiative have already exceeded Five’s expectations.

The channel tested the medium for two weeks this summer with parent-targeted promotional messaging for Noddy, Hi-5 and Fifi and the Flowertots. After creating an on-air spot, Five handed over the graphic elements to ATM:ad, which adapted the visuals to suit its four-pronged messaging strategy, including creating receipts that listed the name of each show and its scheduled airtime. ATMs sporting the Milkshake branding processed 500,000 transactions in the two-week test phase, beating the number of impressions ATM:ad promised by 60%, says Five marketing exec Louise Bowers.

Typically, ATM:ad deals in two- and four-week campaigns involving bank machines located in various shops, gas stations and shopping centers. But client companies can also choose to fine-tune that reach a bit. For example, Five opted to run its Milkshake promos with Nationwide’s supermarket partner ASDA in order to reach a larger number of parents. ATM:ad is able to predict how many users of a particular demo will frequent certain locations based on archived data about each machine’s usage patterns.

A one-month national campaign in ASDA’s 156 stores would cost around US$100,000. But Jack Vincent, media sales manager at ATM:ad, emphasizes the strategy’s efficiency and the company’s ability to guarantee a pre-determined number of consumer impressions; a month in ASDA, for example, would yield seven million.

Another juicy advantage is the one-on-one nature of the relationship between customer and ATM. Bank machine users tend to get up close and personal with the consoles to prevent anyone else from learning their PIN numbers, and the whole transaction process necessitates that they focus their attention on the screen.

ATM:ad, a subsidiary of ad placement agency iDesign, is currently working on fulfilling contracts with various movie distributors for two-week theatrical promotions, but Vincent is in discussions with other broadcasters for future business. He’s also negotiating with additional financial institutions and supermarkets to expand the company’s reach in the U.K. ‘We started off with 300 ATMs, and we’re about to increase that number to 15,000,’ he says.

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