Ambient marketing is a way of promoting products or services using unusual locations or items and their elements to your advantage as a communication channel. It involves creative advertising messaging, interacting with the target audience, and should affect consumers on an emotional level.
In this video, you can see an ambient marketing campaign from Coca-Cola. The company put a special Coke machine at a bus stop in a Swedish city.
Why should brands consider ambient marketing?
According to MarketingWeek, 65% of UK consumers say that diversity in advertising formats is important to them. This indicates that modern marketers think not only about traditional ads but non-standard ways to promote their products as well. When conventional advertising is no longer surprising enough, ambient marketing comes to the rescue.
The term ‘ambient media’ appeared in Great Britain in the 1990s and was defined as visual advertising in uncommon places. When developing an ambient ad, paying considerable attention to creativity and using an unconventional approach to provide deeper contact with prospects and customers is important. It is important that people passing by stop, look at it, and tell their friends about what they saw.
Ambient ads are considered a more effective product promotion than conventional outdoor advertising. Studies have shown that billboard advertisers have a vehicle passenger’s attention for about six seconds, while creative advertising can increase this indicator to a minute or even more. Also, it helps improve the ad’s effectiveness and can be an integral part of social media marketing. On the one hand, brands can create an unconventional ad and share it on social networks using a hashtag. On the other hand, people can take pictures, make videos of this creative advertising and share it on social media using the brand's hashtag, thereby building brand awareness.
Now that you know why companies should use ambient ads in their campaigns, let’s walk you through the benefits of this type of brand promotion.
Advantages of Ambient Marketing
- Grabs attention
- Can go viral
- Low cost
- Reaches a wider audience
Creative ambient ads that convey a strong message are unique in design and appear in unexpected locations to make people talk about your brand. Here are several benefits of using ambient marketing for your campaign.
In our modern world, where there is an incredible amount of advertising, it is really difficult to stand out to attract prospects or customers. That is why companies should come up with something brand-new and unique.
It is a well-known fact that to grab people’s attention, you should create a positive emotional feeling, surprise consumers, and build an emotional roller coaster. Here comes ambient advertising that can draw attention by creating interesting objects, unusual billboards, and useful items, and placing them in unexpected locations.
For instance, if you see a huge bush in the form of a cup of tea, you probably won’t just pass by as it is surprising and grabs attention. That’s what Lipton created in Cairo, Egypt.
Can go viral
If your ad affects people emotionally and has distinctive features and practical value, it can easily go viral. In a world shaped by technology, people can easily take photos and videos and share them on social media like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. This is how you can expand your audience. This doesn’t mean that it can immediately boost your sales, but it can boost your brand recognition at the very least.
An ambient ad is about using unconventional promotional methods to engage with the audience. This means that it won’t cost you much to implement such advertising into your marketing strategy. Find a creator for your future ambient ad and decide on a perfect location.
One of the main benefits of ambient ads is that they convey a brand's message clearly and don't enter customers’ personal space. With some unique constructions, murals, and unusual objects on the streets, you can’t make people become your customers. However, if you manage to intrigue people passing by, they may tell others about your brand. Their friends and colleagues are more likely to purchase your product of their own free will.
Reaches a wider audience
Usually, marketers choose popular places or busy streets to put their ambient ads. The more people see it, the better for a brand. With the help of this type of marketing, you can reach not only your customers but also prospects or people just passing by. The object that conveys your marketing message can build brand awareness for different audiences.
Ambient ads allow people to see your brand from a completely new side. Such campaigns evoke strong emotions using experimental promotion techniques, so consumers remember a brand. Sometimes this form of advertising can evoke emotions such as shock or fear to achieve brand awareness.
Let's look at several ambient marketing examples from well-known brands. This will give you the opportunity to see this type of marketing in action.
Ambient Marketing Ideas and Examples
- Grab Holdings Inc. Helmet
- Folgers Coffee in a City That Never Sleeps
- Lay’s in the Underground
- Nescafé’s Instant Connections and Pop-up Café
- Oldtimer in Front of a Tunnel
- Rimmel’s Nail Polish
- BIC’s Shaver in the Middle of a Field
This type of guerrilla marketing appeared in the 1990s and remains popular among many companies. Some great examples can inspire you to create great ambient ads for your brand.
Grab Holdings Inc. Helmet
Grab is a multinational company based in Singapore that provides customers with ride-hailing transport services, food delivery, and payment solutions. This company successfully implements ambient marketing in its promotion strategy.
As the company provides bike service to its customers, it decided to create meeting points to make it easier for motorbike taxi drivers and passengers to find each other. However, this is not the only purpose of this unusual meeting point in the form of a helmet. It also brings brand recognition to Grab and makes people choose this company over others.
Folgers Coffee in a City That Never Sleeps
Folgers is a brand of coffee produced in the US. This brand claims that coffee is the best part of waking up, and they tried to convey it to New Yorkers in a creative way.
Here you can see an excellent example of an ambient ad. A print of a cup of Folgers coffee placed on top of manhole covers in New York City. This cup is accompanied by an appeal to the city ‘Hey, City That Never Sleeps. Wake up.’
Lay’s in the Underground
It might sound surprising, but Lay's well-known brand of potato chip varieties also uses ambient marketing for their campaigns. This indicates that both small and large companies use this type of marketing.
Here you can see unique advertising from Lay’s in an unexpected place, such as an underground walkway, and the shape is quite unusual too. The brand also mentioned, “Our potatoes are grown closer than you may think.”
Nescafé’s Instant Connections and Pop-up Café
Nescafé is a professional when it comes to experiential marketing. You can discover the brand's unique variety of coffees by experiencing different campaigns. Here you can find two ambient marketing campaigns from Nescafe.
Nescafé's Instant Connections
In this campaign designed to forge ‘instant connections’ the well-known brand of coffee set out to prove that coffee can make people talk with each other. Germany is the first destination where Nescafé decided to connect with strangers by giving them free cups of coffee. Strangers on opposite sides of a road needed to press a ‘push together’ button on a red Nescafé device to connect and get a cup of hot coffee. The campaign was very successful and indicated that even strangers could positively affect each other’s morning.
Nescafé Pop-up Café
In France, Nescafé decided to make people talk by using experiential print media. The brand came to the conclusion that sometimes reading a morning newspaper can be quite a lonely activity and decided to encourage people to share this moment with somebody. Nescafé inserted two foldable mugs into the daily paper in Paris to bring social interactions back.
Oldtimer in Front of a Tunnel
Statistics say that 58% of people learned about a restaurant they later visited from billboard ads. Knowing this fact, Oldtimer combined old but gold billboards with ambient marketing ideas and created something new.
Here you can see an Oldtimer billboard created to catch a traveler's attention. This unique outdoor ad in front of a tunnel promotes rest stops in Austria.
Rimmel’s Nail Polish
The creators of Rimmel, a British cosmetics brand, also decided to be creative in promoting Rimmel’s quick-dry nail polish. They created an installation of nail polish to demonstrate the product in a very creative way and popular location.
Its installation was placed right on a busy street where a lot of people pass by. For sure, this big nail polish bottle attracted the attention of different audiences.
BIC’s Razor in the Middle of a Field
BIC, a world leader in stationery, lighters, and razors, also uses ambient marketing for its products. You would be surprised to see an enormous razor in the middle of nowhere, more precisely, the middle of the field. That’s what BIC did to promote its products, and decided to do it in a very surprising way. With this campaign, the brand made a statement that its razors are sharp enough to mow a lawn.
Marketing is constantly evolving, customers’ preferences in advertising are also changing, and it is becoming more difficult for a marketer to satisfy their target audience. Therefore, it is very important for brands to think outside the box. Ambient marketing is about non-standard advertising: creativity, the ability to draw attention, surprise, and evoke positive emotions.
- The article “Key Benefits of Ambient Advertising” on the Khushi Advertising blog defines the main advantages of ambient marketing.
- The article “Ambient Marketing” on the Know Online Advertising blog defines the term and the benefits of ambient marketing as well as provides some examples.
Last Updated: 21.03.2023