Ambients: Bringing Advertising To A Whole ‘Nother Level

December 15, 2010 - 7:29 am 3 Comments
Reaching New Heights in Advertising

Reaching New Heights in Advertising

After scrolling through my morning tweets, I came across a link to Inc. Magazine’s favorite ambient ads. I can’t help being drawn to the bizarre so I checked out all the images. Instant reaction? Woahhh. Secondary reaction? Googling “ambient advertising” to find more creative-borderline-psychotic stuff to look at. I hit the jackpot.

The ambient ads catcall you and you have no choice but to look. That’s how they work. Once you get past the undeniable cool factor, however, the fact remains that these out-of-the-box, “more is more” gimmicks are meant to serve a fairly straightforward purpose: bringing awareness to a brand. After I finally managed to stop gawking, which – let’s face it – took a while, I began to wonder if these ads were effective in all their wacky glory.

Example that incites consumerism: From Rimmel Quick Dry Nail Polish, a bottle of nail polish sculpture seemingly pouring liquid onto the sidewalk. Height of a college freshman. Dangerously magenta in color. Effective? Indisputably. This ambient is not only displaying the product in a fun way, it’s also boldly strengthening its “quick dry” message.

Example that spreads a message: From Unicef, a dirty water vending machine selling over 8 lethal concoctions for only $1. Typhoid Dirty Water or Malaria Dirty Water? No thanks, but compelling to say the least. Unicef’s message is right there in your face: this is the only option developing countries have to stay hydrated. In this case, repulsion actually operates as an incentive to donate to a cause saving millions of lives.

Example that doesn’t cut it: From Gillette, a hairy elevator. All I can say is, eww, gross. The message there is loud and clear – hair today, please oh please be gone tomorrow! The problem? Whenever I hear or read the word “Gillette,” instead of imagining a clean-shaven, ridiculously good-looking man, I’ll think of…this. It’s a negative association.

So all in all? Love the brazen panache and call-to-consumerist action qualities of ambient ads. However, sending a clear message is key otherwise people will marvel but, being unable to understand what’s in front of them, not follow through. Also, be careful of how you use repulsion in ads – you might not get the response you were looking for.

3 Responses to “Ambients: Bringing Advertising To A Whole ‘Nother Level”

  1. Victoria Ahrenholtz Says:

    Undoubtedly a terrific piece of writing! I’ve saved it and mailed it out to many of my close friends simply because I know they are intrigued, thank you very much!

  2. Jay Schrecker Says:

    Great post! I love it very much!

  3. cell phone signal booster for home Says:

    I like the theme on this blog. Is it downloadable anywhere?

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