JCDecaux shares findings on airport media


The study found that British airports and their passengers are more accustomed and receptive to digital media propositions

The study found that British airports and their passengers are more accustomed and receptive to digital media propositions

JCDecaux is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies. It dominates key OOH advertising areas such as railway stations and shopping centres and it has a very strong hold on airports, with 184 sites in 18 countries. This represents 30 percent of the world-wide total and reaches more than 1.5bn passengers annually. Taking advantage of this, the company commissioned an in-depth study on six key airports, and has published its findings in a new report called ‘Airport Stories’.

‘Airport Stories’ focuses on six major airport hubs: Hong Kong, Singapore’s Changi, Heathrow, Frankfurt, Dubai and New York. It had 1,600 respondents and combined quantitative and qualitative analysis, including vox pops, focus groups and online surveys. The research looked into digital signage, experiential advertising (including interactivity) and sponsored services, such as ‘power poles’ to recharge devices, or WiFi services.

Steve Cox, marketing director for JCDecaux Airport UK, opened his presentation on ‘Airport Stories’ by saying: “We are a global player, but with great power comes great responsibility. This research was design to provide a deeper understanding of international airport advertising. We want to explore the connected dynamics of people, brands, displays and airports, and test the concept of the universal brand experience. Through this knowledge our aim is to deliver tangible benefits to advertisers.”

Adding to this, Julie France, JCDecaux’s UK managing director points out: “The good news is that airport advertising is set to grow, with more terminals and more travellers. Airport traffic is predicted to double in the next two decades, growing 4.8 percent year-on-year. In 2012 this will be particularly important in the UK because of the Olympics, with 80 percent of the people attending flying in.”

So, do travellers act differently depending on where they are? The answer is no. However, the study found that travellers have two main states of mind at the airport. Before security control they are alert and efficient, sometimes anxious but mainly focused with the task at hand. Once they have passed security, they are relaxed and excited. The airport is their oyster and they are ready to be entertained, amused and persuaded to buy.

Of the studied airports, a large proportion of the travellers are frequent business flyers. Of these 32 percent are women and 68 percent are men, and are between 25 and 65 years old. They are affluent and influential people; they also tend to be early technology adopters, and 40 percent of them travel more than nine times a year. The vast majority spend at least two hours at the airport, which provides a great opportunity for OOH advertisers.

One of the areas respondents were very keen on seeing more of at airports was digital interactivity. “Airports are ideal for the ‘touch dialogue’,” says Cox. “People said they would like to see more interactivity and opportunities to download to their mobiles. This is a great chance to establish a dialogue with the screen and generate ‘talk media’, for example: word-of-mouth recommendations.”

Cox compared the results of the global survey with those in the UK. The UK is very advanced in the application of digital screens at airports, with the results showing that this crowd is more receptive to the digital proposition. “UK respondents are 45 percent more likely than the average traveller to believe that digital screens help a brand stand out from its competitors,” remarks Cox.

Video advertising and the changes on the screen capture people’s attention. “Knowing this,” he continues, “it’s disappointing to see how many advertisers still run static images on digital screens.”

The research showed that advertising at airports works and travellers welcome it. Most respondents agreed that other media, such as TV and radio, would be better with fewer adverts. However, when it comes to airports, advertising forms part of the beauty of the space. “Although airports have a specific function, which needs to be efficient, they would be very dull if they were deprived of the colour and dynamism of advertising,” Cox concludes. “People see adverts as part of the airport experience. A key part of flying is the exposure to new cultures and new experiences. Airports are the gateways to this, and provide a perfect opportunity to communicate with this receptive audience.”

‘Airport Stories’ shows that airports provide an ideal platform to deliver a message using the latest creative technology to a dynamic and receptive audience: 91 percent of respondents believed that brands benefit from advertising at airports.

First published 12 March 2012 – Output