About a hundred years ago, J. Walter Thompson, the foremost expert in advertising in America at the time, used handbills and posters to advertise his clients. While the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency is still in business, they do things a little differently. Now advertising can be found everywhere from product placement in movies to business card dispensers on contractor’s trucks. These days, there’s almost nothing and nowhere that isn’t up for grabs to savvy media buyers.
Advertising & Baseball
While it hasn’t come to the point that baseballs and bats advertise more than the manufacturer’s names, that’s about where it ends. Take for instance AT&T Park in San Francisco. While we’re used to seeing huge banner ads on the outfield walls one savvy marketer took it a little further: In the farthest point of the outfield wall long coined the gap; a spot that’s tough for the outfielders to reach, the mega clothing giant The Gap decided that that particular place in the outfield was a perfect spot to place their banner. Thus the Gap in the gap. Furthermore, for a while anytime there was a change in pitchers the game announcers would remind the fans that “it was a good time for an oil change” at a prominent auto maintenance concern.
Supermarkets & Bananas
Grocery stores and mass retailers have become mega bastions for advertising products in store, also known at P.O.P. (Point of Purchase). From automatic coupon dispensers at the site of the product to stickers like the famous “Got Milk” on bananas. While we’re used to seeing displays for products on special or for new products actually affixing a label to a fruit is innovative even by today’s standards. But then, there was nothing about the “Got Milk” campaign that wasn’t innovative from TV commercials to print ads.
Buses, Outdoor Boards & Cars
Advertising on and inside buses isn’t new; it’s been around for years. What is new is and quite attractive are buses entirely wrapped with a marketers message. If you’re on the bus you see it, if you’re on foot you see it and if you driving alongside the bus you see it. These colorful buses almost looked gift wrapped for the holiday’s everyday of the year. Advertising executives have also done some creative things with billboards and bus shelters. A certain billboard came equipped with an LED read-out showing the earth’s population in real time. And bus shelters have gone much the same way as their counterpart buses; wrapped entirely with a client’s message. Furthermore, people with relatively new cars are getting their car payments augmented by allowing advertising to be placed on their cars. The caveat, of course, is that the car is clean and stays in good condition so as to make the best impression possible. Smart Cars, Mini Coopers and new Beetles are favorites.
To the Horizon & Beyond
What’s next? Ever since M&M’s turned down the opportunity to be ET’s favorite candy the world has been open for innovative advertising ideas. You’ll just have to watch and see.
About the Author:
Trish Little writes on advertising and new media. Interested in advertising? A degree in communications may be for you. Several schools offer programs in this field including University of Southern California and Emerson College.