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By Camilla Corr
18 August 2010
The interactive nature of cash machines necessitates active mental engagement
As consumers respond to challenging financial times with a collective tightening of the purse strings, advertisers have been forced to develop ever more ingenious ways to market goods. It seems that any available surface has long since been the blank canvas upon which businesses emblazon a proliferation of tantalising printed messages but in recent times, the powerful world of branding has discovered an even more captivating means of deploying its message: dynamic digital signage.
Whilst digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising on bus sides and billboards increases in prevalence, a new display channel has joined the ranks in the form of ATM advertising. Independent surveys estimate that around 1.8m cash machines are in use globally and with such a large potential audience, it was only a matter of time before companies began to capitalise.
High-profile consumer brands including Pizza Hut, Cadbury, Appletiser, Nivea for Men, National Express, Costa Coffee, Subway and bmibaby are amongst those which have run extensive campaigns through this new medium but it hasn’t only been commercial businesses which have been keen to get involved. Early 2010 saw ATM4Media launch a government-sponsored anti-drugs campaign, which played on 6,000 machines across Australia. Meanwhile, Directgov, the digital provider of public sector information for England and Wales, used 900 ATMs nation-wide to publicise a financial advice portal.
The success of ATM advertising must be attributed partially to the fact that it transmits to an entirely captive audience. Unlike posters, which rely on maximum traffic passing by, the digital displays in cashpoints are all but ensured a stationary audience as any member of the public must remain by the machine whilst their money is dispensed. In addition, whereas advertising is frequently a passive experience for the consumer whereby they view or listen to a message, contrastingly, ATMs are by their very nature interactive machines, resulting in an active engagement with a branded interface.
In a consumer market awash with choice, companies have developed more focused strategies to secure the appropriate audience. No medium has made the marketing more easily customisable than digital signage. Businesses can choose what time of day they would like a certain version of their campaign to run. For example, a message aimed at those with young families would be most effective in the day whereas evening advertising would be more appropriate for those who work in offices 9-5. In this way, one of the core benefits of televisual advertising can be achieved for a fraction of the cost. Is digital signage to become the new choice that will sit between television advertising and stationary printed material?
Research has shown that cashpoint advertising has higher success rates than direct marketing (DM). This could possibly be due to the fact that whilst it is targeted, it does not feel as invasive. In addition, cash machines are often positioned in areas where individuals are susceptible to spending money. For instance, many cash machines are situated in retail outlets. What better way to market groceries than on ATMs situated in supermarkets?
For those resistant to the digital signage sector, it would seem prudent to take heed of the strong evidence that shows its clout in the commercial marketplace. Cash machine advertising is just a small glimpse of the reach made possible by DOOH and further illustrates the manifold financial benefits of embracing this exciting new technology.
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