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AMBIENT MARKETING: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

AMBIENT MARKETING: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

If we sit and analyze the advertising world today, we may come across few developments. Wikipedia acknowledges mainly four of these. A decline in the power of traditional media, a greater demand for point-of-sale communications, need for precise audience targeting and increase in versatility.

This led to the development of ambient marketing.

Ambient was first used in relation to advertising in 1996 by Concord Advertising, a UK agency specialising in outdoor campaigns.

As ANZMAC 2000 paper explains, it evolved from a need to apply a single term to what was an increasing request from clients for ‘something a bit different’ in their advertising. Clients, concerned with issues of cut-through, competition, decreased effectiveness and disinterested audiences wanted (and still want) advertising ‘with bite’ from their agencies. This push by clients for something different saw agencies placing ads in unusual places, such on as floors, petrol pump handles and backs of toilet doors – previously not considered as locations for advertising. Such campaigns did not fit neatly into existing categories like out-door, print, radio or television and hence a new term was coined.

Wiki experts say it is the name given to a new breed of out-of-home products and services determined by some as Non-Traditional or Alternative Media. Ambient media advertising can be used in conjunction with mainstream traditional media, or used equally effectively as a stand-alone activity. The key to a successful ambient media campaign is to choose the best media format available and combined with effective message.

Now it has become a standard advertising term.

Ambient marketing is also called guerrilla marketing or place-based marketing by some, ambient marketing is marketing or advertising wherever customers happen to be, part of the immediate surroundings. Guerrilaonline.com says ambient marketing on Internet may be performed in form of placing relevant thing (an image of a stylish shoe in case of shoe retailer) as an avatar published with blog postings, commentaries or on social networks. No other forms of ambient marketing have been recognized by secondary research however an internet activity of businesses already points out that businesses are aware of importance of recognition of the brand with the relevant product images or logically associated subjects.

So what are the effects this sort of marketing can have on customers???

Well for one, ambient marketing confirms better reach to the customers as it is showcased in public places. Secondly it is very cost effective though it needs a lot of effort in terms of newness, surprise, humour, creativity and audience involvement.

The best part is that it offers instant spotlight on the brand and hence it helps not only big brands like Nestle but start-ups also.

The trick is to put the idea in forefront and not the product. But  as they say there is a thin line between annoying and attracting customers. As per Saxion report, mainly smaller and financially weaker companies are using an aggressive Guerrilla attack. But such a campaign can even be a tool to fight the current market leader. Unlike Levinson, Ries, and Trout.

Hence even Kotler believes that the main purpose of Guerrilla Marketing is to destabilize the opponent – or best to destroy the competitors with the help of attrition tactics.

ANZMAC 2000 talks of major differnciation factors like unusualty’ that raises level of interest in consumer and hence their willingness to expend cognitive effort to process message.

The recipient is made to feel empowered and this helps in  better communication .This leads to a good rapport with the target audience.

The marketing expert Kotler also analysed the Guerrilla tactics in the 1990s. He suggests that such a competitive strategy should be adopted by market challengers that try to increase their own profitability by gaining more market share from other companies in the same industry. He warns that a competitive advantage over the challenged company is the foundation for a good strategy, but also involves high risks, especially when the potential gain is high.

Edell &Burke (1987) talks of “Attitude-toward-ad “  in a very appropriate fashion. It says that exposure to ad, judgement about the ad and social value towards the ad need to be extremely positive to have a favourable impact. This correctly implies that the absurdity and broader implications of such ad locations are not so much questioned, as considered clever and effective. Worldwide, major advertisers including Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Virgin, Nestle and numerous car companies have also invested in Ambient advertising campaigns. Yet despite this, Ambient remains relatively unexplored and almost no analysis exists.

Hence the way in which the consumer ‘discovers’ Ambient to its effectiveness is very important.

But then again beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder!

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