Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bar patrons have good recall for ads on digital signs

Judging by Andrew Hampp's surprised reaction to the news in Advertising Age, I might suspect that maybe he's knocking back a few too many when he goes out with friends. Granted, I probably would have suspected, like him, that most bar-goers wouldn't notice ads running on digital screens, and if they did, they almost certainly wouldn't remember any of them. But that thinking runs counter to research done by Arbitron and Ecast, the owners of a 10,000 unit strong digital jukebox network. In fact, "a recent Arbitron study of bars and nightclubs found the average brand recall was 43% for an ad on the Ecast platform," when limited to "patrons who spent more than one hour in a bar and interacted with the Ecast platform, which consists of banner ads that accompany music selections."

So what does that mean? Well, for one thing, hanging out at a bar for an extended length of time (say an hour or more), you probably will start to notice all of the ads being broadcast at you. For another, if the product being advertised is sold in the bar (like premium liquor or something), that 43% number is likely low, since, let's be honest, I'm sure a lot of the people surveyed had poorer recall the next day due to alcohol consumption than they would have while they were actually in the bar. And let's not forget that POPAI's famous "70% of brand decisions are made in-store" quote applies to bars, nightclubs and restaurants as well. Getting somebody to switch from Coors to Bud, or from Absolut to Stoli is a big deal to alcohol marketers, so while the longer-term recall rate at 43% is nice, the shorter-term recall rate is almost certainly higher, and that should have the makers of all sorts of food and drink makers taking notice.

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