Friday, January 12, 2007

Just say No to Interruption Marketing

With all of the hoopla surrounding the recent rise of in-store media like digital signage and retail audio networks, it can be easy to forget that for every cool, innovative and successful projects there are any number that not only don't meet their objectives, but also go one step further and irritate shoppers. For all those projects, David Meerman Scott has started an Interruption Marketing Hall of Shame at Web Ink Now. A frequent traveler, David's top three inductees are all related to airports. For example, look at what he has to say about his #2 pick, CNN, for their CNN Airport Network:

CNN has created this crap so they make the Hall of Shame. I actually like CNN, but only when I choose to watch it (usually while I am on my exercise machine at home). I don't want to watch (listen) all the time. CNN should have a clause in the contracts that they write with airports for the CNN Airport Network that says that quiet areas must be made available in every terminal that installs their network. Listen up CNN: You are hurting your brand with this nonsense.
Pretty strong words (I don't particularly mind CNN Airport Network myself), but there certainly are cases where less would have been more, and an otherwise good marketing opportunity becomes an annoyance. For example, #4 on David's list, Simon Property Group, is an example that I agree with. When Simon and Publicis Group announced that they were creating a digital signage network to be featured in malls, we all wondered what form it might take. After witnessing it first hand this holiday season, I must say I'm underwhelmed. In order to compete for attention over the cacaphony, the in-concourse screens blare audio that often just smashes up against audio coming from the different mall stores. In the food court, the screens are poorly placed (in the malls I visited, at least), and while not particularly loud or obnoxious compared to the already deafening noise that food courts are known for during peak traffic times, I can only imagine that when it's quieter they would be.

Retail marketing should not be interruption marketing. Retail media networks should complement the store environment, not stand apart from it in an attempt to be seen and heard. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes still being made in the retail media space today, and it's the reason why so many are still wary of using these systems in store.

Tags: retail media, in-store media, advertising, digital signage

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