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The marketing opportunities most airports are missing

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10. Travelators You know travelators, those flattened escalators that serve as moving pavements. Well, it’s not unusual to find static print ads along their route, but I’m suggesting the actual moving steps would be ideal ambient media. Imagine a sky printed on them, with a large, branded aeroplane every-so-often, all in constant motion. Or a long piece of copy, revealed in paragraphs as you walk.

9. Play Areas Airports and kids don’t always make the smoothest combinations, do they? The trouble is, the nippers start off noisy and excited, then wear themselves out and end up tired and tearful. What they need is a free play area, in which to pass the long wait for the flight, and give the grown-ups some peace. Sponsored by Lego or Toys R Us, would be a nice touch.

8. Water Fountains I always spot these when I’m travelling, and they don’t half look lonely and underused. What they need is some bright, noticeable brand colours, and a reason to approach. So how about Evian or Volvic add their name, and pump their product through the spout. Preferably chilled.

7. Blow-up Headrests Admittedly, those inflatable u-shaped cushions look as though they wouldn’t provide much comfort, but actually they’re great. By stopping your head from drooping, it’s surprising how much they aid an airborne nap. Which is why I think Slumberland or Dreams could do a lot worse than to sponsor free travel pillows on flights where cash-rich flyers are likely to be found in substantial numbers. Those passengers are likely to retain them for future trips too.

6. Print Brochures The advantage of a couple of hundred people on a plane, is that they form a very captive audience. Surprising then, that the only advertising to which they are exposed, is between the movies and in the in-flight magazine. Wouldn’t it be smart to place a brochure (in a magazine style) in that seat-back pocket alongside the safety card and sick bag?

5. Nicotine Gum, Lozenges and Patches For us smokers, long haul flying brings a problem – up to twelve hours without a gasper. What’s more, for some odd reason, e-cigarettes are on the banned list too (despite the absence of tar or smoke). The only real option? The edible substitute. If I were working on the account of one of these nicotine replacement brands, I’d have stands and free samples in airport lounges from Manchester to Manila. Where better to attract and convert new customers?

4. Battery Charge Here’s an idea which really comes into its own, when folk return from their trip and head back to their car. After standing motionless for a fortnight, it’s not uncommon for a vehicle’s battery to go flat. In which case, how about a free charge from a sponsored charger pack, available from the office? I’m sure the Kwik Fit or Halfords brand could really benefit from this.

3. The Concierge Not all these sponsored service need to be offered for free, of course. An airport assistant is something for which many folk would happily pay. Someone to meet you, escort you to your check-in desk, tow your cases, grab you a coffee, guide you to the gate, would be particularly attractive to elderly or nervous travellers. Even better if offered by a leading hotel chain, because it has ‘hospitality’ written all over it’.

2. The ‘Back Home’ Pack There’s a fierce price war raging between the big supermarkets right now, but you know who gets my vote (as well as my pounds)? It’s whoever gives me a pint of milk, some tea bags, and a pack of biscuits as I set off home from my return flight. It needn’t be Tesco, but then again, they do need all the good publicity they can get.

1. Sponsored pilots “Hello, I’m Captain Pepsi. And before I tell you about our journey today, let me just remind you about the refreshing taste of…” Well, okay – maybe not sponsored pilots.

Magnus Shaw is a blogger, copywriter and consultant.


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