Revolutionary Measures

The thigh’s the limit for advertising


In an increasingly cluttered world, reaching consumers with your ads is becoming incredibly difficult. We watch programmes on catch-up TV and fast forward the adverts, ignore online banner ads and routinely delete marketing emails unread.

So how can advertisers respond? Step forward the latest Japanese idea – using women as walking billboards. Public relations consultant Hidenori Atsumi is paying young Japanese women to put adverts on their thighs and walk round Tokyo for eight hours a day. His rationale is that it is an area that men want to look at anyway and that women are happy to expose. Even ignoring all the inherent sexism in the idea I think it is a tactic that doesn’t have a long term future, despite the column inches it is currently generating. While men won’t get bored of looking at women’s thighs, the impact will wear off – they’ll remember the medium rather than the message.

However the idea got me thinking, so here’s my top five underexploited ways of advertising and reaching the right audience

1          Heads
In a counterpoint to young women’s thighs, another body part that gets a lot of attention is the head. You could dye hair in corporate colours or sculpt it to look like a product or company logo. Beards and moustaches offer another great opportunity. Alternatively for the follicly challenged, bald heads make a great space to display your message.

2          Beer glasses
I have seen some adverts on the bottom of beer glasses, but it still seems like an underused space. Obviously you need to keep the message simple so it is understandable after a few pints, but it would be a perfect way of reaching drinkers. How about a ‘Buy Crisps’ advert to boost pub snack sales – or for the more hardened drinker ‘Buy Alka Seltzer’……

3          Plants
You can buy bean seeds that supposedly grow a leaf with a word on them, but that’s small in comparison to what could be done with careful breeding and a bit of ingenuity. Individual plants with a sponsor’s name or whole fields that display a message when viewed from above. Perfect for farmers near airports to boost their income.

4          3D Printers
3D printers are becoming cheaper and cheaper – you can now buy one for £699 in Maplin. But what if you were actually given one for free – but in return every third or fourth thing it made was an advert or replica of a product someone was trying to sell you. Essentially the Spotify model brought into the physical world. You could even hook up a webcam and social media so that it automatically tweeted a picture of the object to your social media followers.

5          Personalised billboards
We walk past billboards every day and often don’t give them a second glance. But if they addressed us by name and delivered a personalised advert that would be different. It should be relatively simple to use smartphone proximity to trigger ‘your’ ad to appear – and it could even be based on your location. A billboard between the train station and your house would advise you to buy milk on your way home or one outside a clothes shop can offer a discount on new trousers. Providing you situate them in less busy areas (Leicester Square isn’t going to work) they’d be able to deliver a personalised message to a steady stream of consumers.

Any other ideas I’ve missed? Tattooing toddlers or affixing ads to animals? Let me know in the comment section.

July 24, 2013 - Posted by | Creative, Marketing | , , , , , , , , ,

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