Advertising meets Tourism Promotion: Ambient Media

I love it when I get handed fliers at intersections. Oh no, wait, that’s not right. I couldn’t be bothered and absolutely never ever look at them. A respect for the person who is doing something to earn a living combined with the fact that I would rather put them in the recycling than see them end up as litter is why I take them. Now just think about all those important messages that never get seen.

Not the best way to market your business then, is it? And most definitely not if you are in Tourism. An advert for your Tourism venture should drip with sentiment, allure and something so palpable, the receiver can almost feel the salt water on their skin or smell the scent of wild grass as it fills their nose. It’s no wonder then, as we humans get smarter with technology yet no better with our attention-spans, that Ambient Media and Tourism are such good friends. Both are about a tangible, visceral experience that should provoke or change the way you think and feel about what you are doing and where you have been – instantly.

Handed with the task of advertising South Africa for the South African Tourism board, Mumbai agency ‘Contract’ developed engaging zebra crossings for pedestrians that took the literal angle on an old traffic-related necessity. These are clever because of the double-play afforded to them and will leave an impressed, unforgettable impression on anyone who has to cross the same old street – in a brand new way. The clincher? South Africa – “It’s closer then you think.”

Tourism Promotion always has that obstacle to beat. Getting people to consider going somewhere they think is further away than it is – and we’re not talking geographically. With the combination of technology, air travel, and the accountability of recourse that social media places on any organisation, travel is trustable and it is easy – you just have to want to do it.

Another engaging execution was by our sunshine-contemporaries in Brazil. Competing for a similar audience across Europe and the rest of the affluent Northern Hemisphere, agency ‘Artplan’ transformed bus shelters across several cities in Europe. The shelter offers actual warmth – a welcome respite for your hands if not anything else – and promotes the warmth of a country and her people.

“Ambient advertisements are effective means at pushing a brand message in front of consumers and can develop even better top of mind recall within target audiences.” – Wikipedia. Both of these executions successfully highlight Tourism effectively and did their bit to ‘take you there’. In an ideal world with fabulous clients and even better budgets, all advertising could be allowed to be this clever.

Would these have caught your eye?

Originally written by me  for

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