Posted by Caroline Smith on November 8, 2010 10:00 AM
Airports have traditionally been a prime target for advertisers (captive audience: check), but recent marketing efforts are turning airport real estate into a venue for a variety of more interactive customer experiences.
Boston Logan's agreement with locally-based Dunkin' Donuts includes installation of 7-foot-tall replicas of Dunkin' Donut coffee cups at Terminals A and C, with occasional free sampling scheduled to promote the brand. Courtyard by Marriott has installed a temporary replica of its lobby at Denver International to promote the hotel chain's new look. And passengers at terminal eight of New York’s JFK airport can experience an interactive touch-screen display created to promote IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative.
Meanwhile, London’s Gatwick Airport has found a customer-friendly use of cutting edge media technology, aimed at helping passengers mediate the mess of the airport’s ongoing construction and remodeling project.
November finds the airport unveiling its "Gatwick Discovery Tour," which uses giant bar codes printed on scaffolding outside the terminals as an audio-visual information tool, accessible through a mobile phone application. The airport, in partnership with stickybits, hopes the bar codes will form part of an over-arching strategy to keep passengers informed on the ongoing renovation of the airport.
"We wanted to find a fun and interactive way to communicate to passengers about how the money is being invested, what work is going on behind the [scaffolding] and how they will eventually benefit. Many of our passengers are social media savvy so introducing stickybits is a great way to interact with them," noted Samantha Holgate, Gatwick’s Head of Airport Communications.
Using the camera on their smart phones, passengers can access a video that shows how the new route between the North and South Terminals was built and completed ahead of schedule.
It’s part of a larger trend that sees airports converted into canvases for splashy campaigns, but Gatwick’s combination of old-fashioned customer-mindedness with high-tech feels friendly and fun. The only question: Will it make travelers feel better about – shuttered terminals, closed gates, scaffolding and “pardon our appearance” signs?