Trying to use an airport setting for a campaign idea or activation program? Here are people doing it well and not so well

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The past few years have seen several interesting Brand activations at airports. It is a ripe environment for emotion-based storytelling because of all the potential reunions, visits, getaways, etc. associated with travel. Spanair and KLM have some very memorable activations (see here and here). During key travel periods agencies tend to leverage these environments more. The Summer travel period is in full swing and we have seen some Brand take full advantage. However, the purpose of this post is to show ones that do it well, and others that don’t.

Douwe Egberts did a great job with their coffee vending machine activation at Tambo International Airport. Sampling was a key element to their marketing campaign because research showed that trial led to purchase with their great coffee. However, they wanted to ensure that the sampling experience was memorable. As such they went to a place where coffee is really desired – early morning at an airport. To make the experience even richer, their vending machines gave free coffee if people yawned. The facial recognition software in the machines automatically vended a cup of coffee when someone yawned in front of it. I guarantee you that those that drank the coffee will drink it again and have favourable memories of the Brand.

Google Play did an equally great job with a recent program on interactive billboards at airports in Australia. Essentially they used the media to serve up content to entertain passengers on their flights, be it games, books, videos, etc. The initiative was brilliant because it was seamlessly integrated into the travel experience and added a ton of value to the travellers. As such it was going to be remembered and forces interaction with the product: thus truly effective. Have a look.

Heineken also took advantage of an airport setting to bring to life their point of view of Opening The World. The idea was called Departure Roulette. In short, the idea intercepted people as they were heading on their respective trips and asked them to play a game where they would win a trip that is leaving right ┬áthere and then at JFK. Some trips were brilliant, some not so much. Either way, people would have to go. For a few people it was a fun stunt because they clearly didn’t have time commitments in their lives, for others it was a useless game, even an annoying game. The link to the brand was there but it felt forced. Bottom line, the initiate didn’t really add value to most travellers and its content creative impact is mediocre. This is a rare miss for Heineken who are usually very much on their game.

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