Advertising at the Airport…The Island of Misfit Promotion

Capgemini and the “Big Reveal”

Professional services is a staple of airport advertising. But having seen this one at least one thousand times I still don’t understand how it sells Capgemini. Is the blue-suited lady the consultant, and is she inspiring her clients to disrobe?  Or are the super hero-suited businessmen the consultants, and she’s their client or boss? Either way, it reminds me way too much of a scene from Charlies Angels than a Big5 Consulting ad should. These guys must cringe when they pass Accenture’s Tiger Woods ads.

Bon Bebe’s Poop Joke Cuts Through the Clutter, Then Gets Lost

They may know how babies think, but they are clueless about how ad viewers do. Bon Bebe uses a photo of a cute kid and a baby poop joke to draw attention. But then they get lost before explaining what they sell.  Fortunately they mention their URL and phone number, so the alert traveler can note these and contact them later to ask what on earth they are doing with a toss-away ad.

Zappos and Its Ad in the Security Bucket

Sometimes the medium is the message. Advertising in the security bin I have to put my shoes is a great opportunity to point out my shoes areen’t what they used to be. Instead, internet darling Zappos inserts an ad which is oblivious to its unusual location. The graphic looks like an ad for a sports drink or gum. Why exactly should I put Zappos in my day?  The ad is all about them.

The Elusive Effective Airport Ad: Thanks, United.

Amusing illustrations and lite copy gets United’s branding across without a bit of chest thumping. It’s rare to see great branding at the airport. In my opinion, this series rings the bell.

Get Your Beer, Get Your Trademarks

This ad announces there’s micro-brew for sale.  But it reads “Beer Trademark Works.”  Wouldn’t it be better just to use the little “tm” symbol, and put a picture of some beer in a frosty mug in the center of this logo?

Of all these ads, none of them actually show the product. That’s not always possible, but beer, baby clothes, and shoes are pretty easy to visualize.  The first rule of sales in the shoe biz is “show them the shoe.” And it was Hannibal Lecter who said “We covet that which first we see.”  This simple start could help make the creative for airport advertising more effective.

6 Responses to "Advertising at the Airport…The Island of Misfit Promotion"

  • Pam

    June 16, 2009

    Hey, fun post.

  • Cory

    June 16, 2009

    Agreed – and what’s with advertising baby clothes at an airport? Is this really the mecca for finding fashion-conscious moms? Don’t they realize that any mom in an airport with a baby is either wiping spit-up off themselves or frantically trying to get the little darling to stop yawling before they get on the plane?

  • adverlicious

    June 19, 2009

    While you can question the relevance of Tiger Woods to consulting, Accenture’s had a pretty good run with their “like a Tiger” campaign.

    Here are some examples of how they’ve leveraged him online –

    (And yes, they make Capgemini look embarrassingly amateurish by comparison.)

  • Drew Stoddard

    June 25, 2009

    Nice post, love reading people’s input on airport advertising. I feel like this is a good example of the media being effective, and the messaging failing (except for the united ad)

  • battery-stores

    May 21, 2010

    Your point is very positive.
    I like your style so much, I am your honest reader.

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