Target Marketing Flying to New Heights

I’ve been flying for a very long time. Not as long as some folks but I was a frequently flyer back when they still let people smoke cigarettes on the plane. Back in those days, the airports did not offer many amenities. In many airports there was only one dining opportunity. Today, the airports have all of the major fast food chains and even some upscale restaurants. Not to mention all of the retail outlets. There is a Brooks Brothers in Terminal D at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

In the process, airports have become one big marketing arena. There are advertisements everywhere from lighted billboards, to baggage carousel wraps. There are advertisements on hand rails in elevators and escalators. There are display ads on the steps of the escalator so as you’re riding up; you can see an advertisement on each step. Airports even sell space for a business to set up a kiosk for product demonstrations and direct selling.

And for good reason, advertising in airports offers a business exposure to a very upscale clientele that is essentially captivated in one location. On average, travelers spend two hours in an airport prior to departure.

Airline Travelers are 80% more likely to have an annual household income of $100,000 or more.Airline Travelers are more likely to have a propensity for designer clothes, luxury cars and cutting-edge personal digital devices. They also shop more often online and spend more when they do shop.

Frequent flyers account for a majority of all advertising impressions because they fly so often, taking four or more round trips a year. Even though frequent flyers are a minority of those flying, they fly so often they account for a majority of all trips flown.

Airline travelers tend to spend less time with television than the average American. Travelers are spending more time at the airport than ever before and the vast majority says they take the time to reach the advertisements. Over one third of all travelers live within the top 10 DMAs in the country.

The top advertising categories in airports are; accommodations, education, health care, business services, restaurants, transportation, automotive sales, entertainment, retail, Chambers, financial, manufacturing, real estate and technology.

In the world of airport advertising, the time a passenger spends in the airport is called dwell time. At the gate, the average dwell time is 70 minutes. At the baggage claim the average passenger spends 20 minutes waiting for their bags. Airport advertising sales people ask “Why go for seconds worth of exposure when you can reach people for minutes?”

I thought I had seen it all until a recent flight when I was handed a bag of peanuts. The entire front of the bag of peanuts was an advertisement for the Hilton Garden Inn. There was just one line in small print that said, “Lightly salted peanuts.”

This novel advertising idea is the brain child of a company called Brand in the Hand  (www.brandinthehand.biz). Brand in the Hand is a division of Harvey Alpert & Co., the leading provider of branded snack foods and beverages to the airline industry. Since 1977, Harvey Alpert & Co. have been the exclusive in-flight representative of such national brands as; Nabisco, Kraft, Kellogg’s, Minute Maid, Pepperidge Farm, Campbell’s Soup Co. and Lender’s Bagels.

Brand in the Hand can put your advertising message on almost everything in the airplane from the napkins to the airsick bags.

Does Brand in the Hand advertising really work? It may be just a coincidence but the ad on the peanuts bag was for the Hilton Garden Inn and that’s the hotel I’ve been staying in for the past few weeks while I’m on the road. While I didn’t personally arrange for the accommodations, the advertising and my investigation have heightened my awareness of the Hilton brand and the company’s line of hotels and purely by coincidence; I’m staying in another one of their hotels over the next two weeks. I’ve taken the time to update my Hilton Honors account and pay more attention to the various specials they offer.

I don’t know if having the Hilton advertising message on the airsick bag would have had the same positive branding impact on me.

When you’re flying along at 35,000 feet staring at the peanuts bag, a number of interesting thoughts go through your mind, like what government regulation requires a peanut distributor to print on the bag “This product was produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts.”

Talk to you soon.

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