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Original post: MediaPost Publications Place-based Marketing Reaches Elusive Demographic by David Rowley on Feb 22, 2011.


When Syfy scored record-breaking ratings in the 18-34 demo with its new series “Being Human,” it made me sit up and take notice. There was an important contributing factor to that success: the use of place-based media as part of the program’s marketing campaign. Dana Ortiz, Syfy’s vice president of brand marketing, explained: “Being Human had a big, robust campaign, but it included a pretty big place-based promotion.” She was referring to seven weeks of advertising on more than 5,000 cinema screens as well as theater lobby promotions, done in partnership with Screenvision.

Ortiz said that’s a significant reason why the premiere episode on Jan. 17 scored the largest female audience in the 18-34 demo for any Syfy scripted original series in over three years and the third-highest in that category for the network’s entire history.

Many have noted the importance of place-based media in reaching that all-important age group for both men and women.

For example, Lauren Barbara, SVP and managing director of Chrysalis, an out-of-home unit within MPG, shared some proprietary research from a recent Posterscope OCS survey. Among the survey’s findings: adults 18-34 spend more time traveling out of home than they spend watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines and newspapers and using their mobile phones.

Jack Sullivan, VP and OOH activation director at Starcom USA, adds: “The 18-34 demo is very active. There’s a lot more busy-ness in their day – and the demo is more social than it was years ago. Place-based screens give us the wherewithal to target them while they’re carrying on with their lifestyles.”

A Mediamark Research & Intelligence survey released in spring 2010 shows that respondents in the 18-34 bracket substantially over-indexed adults in general when asked if they’d seen video advertising in gyms or health clubs over the last 30 days. They had an average index score of 145, compared with 100 for all adults. And the same demo had an average index of 166 when asked if they had interest in the ads they saw in gyms and health clubs.

The latest Nielsen Co. survey of people who are members of HCMN health clubs adds further proof. Some 66% of the respondents agreed with the statement: “I feel good about brands advertising in my club because I know they are supporting my active, healthy lifestyle.” And 62% responded favorably to: “I’m more likely to pay attention to advertisements on the digital screens at the health club than an ad on my TV at home.”

Little wonder that Sullivan said that Starcom’s digital place-based billings have grown at an annual 50% to 60% clip over the last few years.

As for overall sector, Patrick Quinn, president and CEO of the research firm PQ Media, recently estimated that place-based revenue increased 14% in 2010 — one of the top-ranked media categories when judged by percentage growth.

While that data is not demo-specific, Quinn noted that a large share of place-based advertising is targeted to young adults. Despite all that vitality, place-based is still a fairly young advertising sector, and with that comes the inevitable room-to-grow challenges. It needs better measurement and a larger footprint of available opportunities.

As an industry, we’re very conscious that agencies are also looking for more efficient planning and buying tools. Although, as Quinn has noted, improved tools from companies like DOmedia are steps in the right direction.

Despite those hurdles, place-based advertising links young consumers to advertisers in an environment they enjoy, and where they’re receptive to fresh messages. Marketers get tremendous value when they include place-based vehicles in their media mix — especially when going after critical demos no longer linked to yesterday’s mass-media habits.

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Ben is the Marketing Manager at DOmedia. Maintaining the look, feel, and flow of DOmedia's online presence, he is avidly engaged in the latest in out-of-home.

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