Summer is finally here, and beaches are at full capacity. We flock to the coast to escape our regular lives in a place where the sun shines and the sound of the waves soothes our souls. We seek the therapy of salt air, feet in the sand, and perhaps a sip from a tropical drink.
We may also hear the familiar buzzing of a prop plane flying overhead, dragging a carefully crafted marketing banner announcing “CRABS CRABS CRABS $19.99 ALL U CAN EAT” or inviting us to try Budweiser’s latest fruity beer mash-up.
So, what do we do when we hear that buzzing? We flip over from our tanning position to see the ad, of course. While we’re re-sunscreening our kids, we contemplate that new beer and maybe even plan to try it out the next time we hit the beach liquor store.
Tried and True
This flavor of Out-of-Home advertising (nicknamed OOH for a reason!) has been around since before World War II. Sure, the planes have probably gotten more fuel-efficient and the fabric on the banners has been made more durable, but the marketing piece of that puzzle has stayed relatively the same.
Yes, a flying banner is far less complicated than a multi-touch drip campaign. Most text banners can hold only 35-40 characters. That’s seven times fewer than a Twitter post. Billboard and trailer-style banners have a bit more space, but there isn’t much room for a highly creative marketing message. The simplicity of aerial advertising is what makes it successful.
(Incidentally, check out this fascinating video of how the signs are actually connected to the plane).
Fish in a Barrel
Once we’ve schlepped our gear, popped up our umbrellas and lubed up with sunscreen, we’ve gone all-in on our day at the beach. We’re committed to being parked there for at least a few hours, making us ripe targets for local restaurants and major corporations alike. And come to think of it, the playing field between small and large businesses gets a bit more leveled when everybody has to use the same sized ad – the only thing that varies is frequency.
Marketers know this and take advantage of the free, captive audience we’ve given them. “List rental”, “opt in” and “audience segmentation” are not phrases found in an aerial marketer’s vocabulary. When they run down their checklist of to-dos, “identify targets” is permanently scratched off.
The Wave of the Future (Looks Just Like The Wave of the Present)
Is beachfront aerial advertising going to drive record-breaking sales? Will it help your startup go public? Will it make the world a better place? Maybe not.
But in a world of impressions, clicks, and conversions, something is working for beach-banner marketing. Otherwise, it would retire like any other antiquated technique. It still works because the audience is cheap, the branding is clear and concise, and no one can deny the value of aligning an advertiser’s products with themes of summer, relaxation, and retreat.
What other static marketing methods continually work like that, without innovation or redesign, and are in no danger of being sunsetted anytime soon?
So, let’s toast this trusty marketing method for its reliable, affordable, and nostalgic personality. May we all find such long-lasting success while staying true to ourselves. Happy summer!