HighTech Airport Ads Take Off

March 30, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Pennsylvania-based Interspace Airport Advertising is installing the latest, most technologically advanced advertising displays at Ford International Airport and has reconfigured the placement of advertising displays throughout the airport.

Interspace is actually cutting the number of ad locations in the airport but installing high-tech signs that carry more ads and are geared to improve message impact for local advertisers, said the firm’s program manager, Christina Kennedy. Basically, Interspace is streamlining the current display program; there will still be many opportunities for advertisers, but there will be fewer display locations, she explained.

Interspace is offering several display options: scrolling displays that rotate visuals one after another; large-format wall wrap displays; baggage information display advertising that displays a message in either static or flash animation format; and passenger assistance center advertising. The latter is a reservation center that allows local service companies, such as hotels and transportation firms, to offer customer service via direct dial phone service. Kennedy said the reservation center will be similar to what’s in the terminal now, but it will be moved to a more prominent location and will employ newer technology.

Formerly, there were a total of 58 static displays: 14 in Concourse A, 18 in Concourse B, 12 in connector halls, 14 in baggage claim and 22 on the phone board/reservation center. Interspace’s program will have a total of 14 scrolling, edgelit and wall wrap displays with opportunities for 33 advertisers, Kennedy said. The passenger assistance center will have 12 displays, and baggage information display advertising will run a maximum four-minute loop on LCD screens.

“We’ll be incorporating the technology of motion displays, so we’ll have scrolling signs that will actually be one display but can house several advertisers. That way, the motion of the changing advertisements actually attracts attention to those displays,” Kennedy said.

Interspace secured a five-year contract for the airport advertising concession in late November last year. A local representative and a local public relations firm, along with local contractors and electricians, will assist Interspace in operating the concession, Kennedy said.

“What we’ve found, based on research done by an outside agency, is that the motion attracts attention, so the movement of these high-tech signs will draw your eye to them,” Kennedy said. “Once you do actually notice the sign, the retention is higher; people will actually remember the signs they have seen more so than a static sign.”

Since there were more than 2 million visitors to Ford International last year, Interspace estimates that with that kind of exposure, advertisers can expect 5 million impressions on their airport advertisements.

Interspace had staff at the airport Monday through Wednesday last week to conduct one-on-one meetings with prospective advertisers so display opportunities could be tailored to individual client needs, Kennedy said. She said advertising spaces are already being filled. The new displays will be in place by June 15.

Aeronautics Director James Koslosky said Interspace has an “impeccable reputation” with dozens of airports around the country and that it understands how to capture people’s attention with an advertising message that has impact and clarity.

“This decision to sign Interspace is one decision I believe the West Michigan business community will appreciate for years to come,” Koslosky said.

Interspace operates airport advertising concessions at more than 149 airports in North America and has been in business since 1974. In its bid for the Ford International concession, the company proposed a minimum annual guarantee of $120,000 in revenue for the airport for the first year and an increase of $1,000 per year for years two through five, so the contract guarantees the airport $600,000 over the life of the contract.

“That is the minimal annual guarantee,” Kennedy said. “The airport will get a percentage of all revenue that we collect above and beyond that, as well.”    

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