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When the sky’s the limit: How to make your airport advertising work

Since 2021, passenger numbers have been steadily climbing at ACSA airports, with significant growth following the lifting of travel restrictions for both domestic and international flights. Recent figures show that Cape Town International Airport experienced a jaw-dropping 95% increase in international travelers, while OR Tambo has recovered 75% of its pre-Covid passenger numbers. King Shaka also saw its overall passenger numbers rise to 71% of pre-Covid levels. As a result, the demand for advertising positions has skyrocketed, demonstrating the value that brands place on airport advertising.

Daniela Tommasi, Airport Lead at EPIC Outdoor, specialists in large format, high impact static and digital out-of-home marketing platforms, highlights the power of airport advertising, citing its high-value environment and captive audience as a unique opportunity to engage with consumers in a strategic and tactical way.

Tommasi’s experience in airport advertising showcases the potential of creative campaigns that make the most of airport space that are generally not available in other outdoor media platforms. Here are four recent examples installed by EPIC Outdoor that demonstrate the impact of targeted campaigns, each curated and executed after detailed briefs from client and ensured their specific marketing outcomes were realised.

Sky-high 3D installation

Garmin’s Fenix 7 watch campaign required a bold and disruptive approach to introduce their new product to as many passengers as possible. EPIC identified an “untraditional” space in OR Tambo’s Domestic Departures where every passenger had to pass after clearing security. Using the full depth of the available space, the artwork was sectioned and cut into “layers” to create a 3D mountain effect, with bold replica 3D custom watches standing proud and demanding attention.

Captivating passengers where they wait

For Disney’s Christmas Airport Campaign, EPIC created a 3D Disney+ interactive zone with TVs and activities in a central location between two banks of seats, where departing passengers have dwell time, highlighting the platforms targeted content suite. Branded rows of chairs were turned into a mini Disney+ cinema, and LED lights and extruding elements were used to increase brand awareness and enhance the interactivity of the campaign.

Massive presence, high impact

Heineken asked for dominance. To this end, Heineken’s campaign at OR Tambo utilised the entire front, west-facing façade of the terminal building as well as a large-format corner wall on the north side. The campaign was visible to all vehicles entering the airport, offering complete dominance of the airport precinct.

Targeting business class passengers

Audi’s brief was to reach passengers utilising airport lounges at OR Tambo, Cape Town International and King Shaka airports. EPIC Outdoor managed to secure positions directly leading into or adjacent to the business class lounges at each of the three specified airports, ensuring that all passengers making use of the lounges were exposed to their messaging.

To match the brand positioning, specific 3D and LED lighting elements were incorporated into the various facades ensuing elegance and sophistication from the campaign that complemented the brand and message.

Tommasi explains that the key to a successful airport campaign is a fully understood brief, allowing the team to tailor the strategy, budget and requirements accordingly. ‘We never stop pushing boundaries,’ she says. ‘Our director Neil Vlaming will say, ‘That’s great. Now how do we make it EPIC?’ And the magic just happens!’

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