December 22nd, 2008

Marketers Can Get on the Menu at JetBlue's Terminal Five

By Natalie Zmuda
Advertising Age

Re:Vive's Digital Kiosks Can Target Hungry 'Gate Huggers'

JetBlue’s Terminal Five at New York’s JFK has already garnered plenty of attention, and now it’s looking to let advertisers in on the action.

Re:vive, a platform consisting of more than 200 screens throughout the terminal, allows travelers to order food and beverages to be delivered to their gate. Those screens, which executives say are the first of their kind, will start serving up advertising in January.

‘Gate huggers’
Dave Allan, director-marketing at OTG Management, which developed the concessions in Terminal Five, said that most travelers are “gate huggers,” rarely leaving the gate for fear of missing something. That meant carefully curated food and beverage options were losing potential customers. Re:vive has successfully addressed that problem, Mr. Allan said. Those gate huggers can use the digital kiosks to, in essence, order in. And now Re:vive could also be a solution for marketers looking to capture the attention of travelers.

“When you consider that about 50,000 people a day spend about 90 minutes in Terminal Five, there’s a good probability that we can put a campaign in front of all of those people,” said James Summerfield, managing partner at Deepend, New York, the design agency working on the project. “We don’t have as much of a struggle to get people’s attention.”

There are three advertising opportunities for brands within the platform. When the screens are not in use, they go into sleep mode and can run traditional 30- and 60-second spots. When they are in use, advertising can be placed within the menu—Heineken could buy an ad asking customers if they want to add a beer to their order, for example—and banner ads can be bought against the order-confirmation screen.

Call to action
The difference between this and the digital screens found in many airports is the interactive opportunity, execs said. Ads within the menu can provide a strong call to action, while travelers could click through banner ads to branded content. A dedicated team of technicians is also based at Terminal Five to quickly resolve any technical issues.

“It’s a huge branding opportunity,” said Mr. Allan. “Advertisers are always looking for a place where eyes haven’t seen an ad before. Eyes haven’t seen this.”

The first advertiser on board is Illy Caffe, which will have ads integrated into the menu, as well as a 30-second spot. Greg Fea, president-Illy Caffe, North America, said that spending on the program is “nominal” in relation to the brand’s overall budget. The success of the campaign will be measured simply by the impact on sales at Terminal Five.

Flexibility is key
“We have quite a long history of trying to work on interactive types of programs with our customers,” he said. “We don’t know how the consumer is going to accept or interact with this new technology, but my gut tells me it will go over quite well, especially with young people.”

Executives declined to discuss specific media costs but said that it is inexpensive at this point. “It’s unproven,” said Mr. Allan. “People have a hard time putting their arms around it, pricing it, paying for it. We have to be flexible at this point.”

Weathering the storm
“Until we get somebody that has a success story, like Illy, it will be tough but only because budgets are being shifted or cut now,” he continued. “What was going nontraditional, which we certainly are, is going traditional, or it’s gone away. We’ll have to weather this advertising storm like the other non-traditional advertisers are.”

Still, OTG is already looking to put the screens in other airports, although it declined to specify which airports it is considering. It operates concessions at airports including Tucson International, LaGuardia and Philadelphia, among others. Mr. Allan says that with air travel declining and consumers viewing the experience as increasingly irritating, Re:vive ultimately offers a new advertising platform and a way for marketers to increase sales.

“We’re doing very well per passenger. There just aren’t enough passengers,” said Mr. Allen. “Certainly it makes sense that if the airport doesn’t have these and you offer it to people, it will increase food and beverage sales.”


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