September 2015

Mall advertising engages shoppers with the element of surprise

Malls are full of spaces that brands can use to entertain and engage consumers.


Out-of-home (OOH) campaigns that use structures like walls or glass facades, escalators, construction sites, LED screens and even Wi-Fi are exploding in popularity locally and abroad, according to one expert.

David McKenzie, MD of BOO! Surprising Media Solutions, says shoppers expect a brand experience in a mall. Malls deliver high “dwell time” which keeps consumers engaged. Alternative media in these centres is a great opportunity to influence purchasing decisions.

“A mall campaign is one element of a total media strategy, which could also, for example, include radio and TV. The mall campaign reinforces the final prompt to purchase,” explains McKenzie, who is credited with pioneering mall advertising in South Africa.

However, he urges brands not to replicate their print ad on outdoor and not to under-estimate the individual character of each mall. “The audiences at Sandton, the V&A and Menlyn Park may have similar income profiles, but they should be communicated to differently,” he says.

Ambient campaigns serve to attract spectators in malls. The aim here, explains McKenzie, should be to work with the big idea and amplify it in a surprising way.

BOO! has implemented a number of successful ambient campaigns in and around malls in the past few years. The Avis Smile campaign involved cardboard imitation wheel clamps attached to rows of cars outside mall parking areas and on popular restaurant strips, with lookalike parking tickets carrying quirky messages. “Supervisors were on hand in case anyone failed to see the lighter side, but the campaign was a roaring success and put a smile on every consumer’s face as Avis communicated the message that its prices would similarly put a smile on every face.”

BOO! has created advertising opportunities in SLOW lounges at airports by pairing premium brands with the SLOW environment. “It’s about creating multiple touch points that are non-invasive and enhance the customer experience,” says McKenzie. “Only two brands at a time are allowed to be paired with the SLOW brand. Our company philosophy is that advertising should not look, feel or smell like advertising.”

The big take-out: Mall campaigns provide brands with opportunities to engage with shoppers in a way that does not feel like traditional advertising.

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