'Minority Report'-Type Ads Gain Traction

Out-of-Home Seller Reactrix Steps Up to Provide Metrics

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- You've probably seen the ads in a mall or an airport. The ads are projected on the floor of a venue and allow consumers to move, drag and kick things around. They're the Reactrix Step Scape ads, and they're just a part of the company's plans to make out-of-home advertising more accountable and engaging in the near future.
Coming in the fourth quarter is a brand-positioning system that will allow marketers to direct customers to the nearest location where they can buy the product in the Reactrix ad.
Coming in the fourth quarter is a brand-positioning system that will allow marketers to direct customers to the nearest location where they can buy the product in the Reactrix ad.

Already under way is the next phase of Reactrix's interactive ads, Wall Scape, which brings the same concept of Step Scape to -- you guessed it -- the walls of malls, movie theatres and other venues. But coming in the fourth quarter is a brand-positioning system that will allow marketers to direct customers to the nearest location where they can buy the product they've just played around with on their Reactrix ad.

High levels of engagement
Dozens of marketers such as Coca-Cola, Clorox, Hilton Hotels and Visa have used Reactrix and through a series of recent studies are seeing high levels of engagement in return. An Arbitron study recently found 75% of consumers who put their eyes on a Reactrix display spent an average of 10 minutes interacting with Reactrix ads. That's in addition to the video technology Reactrix is adding to its 186 venues in 31 markets to provide a more precise estimate of who is actually seeing the ads, such as the Traffic Audit Bureau's "eyes-on" metric of yore.

Jim Bell, a former managing director at Initiative North America who came to Reactrix in December as senior VP-sales, development and operations, said Reactrix's recent studies with Arbitron as well as the work from many of his partner vendors in the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau are helping to take the guesswork out of out-of-home measurement.

"People knew the importance of interactivity and engagement, but we were just 'guesstimating' based on traffic," he said. As more clients renew their relationship with Reactrix, the stakes have been raised for it to deliver more added value through additional features such as Wall Scape and the forthcoming brand-positioning system. "We're beyond the experimental stage now. We're a complex buy -- you can't just buy traffic and repurpose a commercial any more. You need to make a commercial with us."

TV-like accountability
The early results seem to be working for AT&T. Daryl Evans, VP-advertising and marketing communications for AT&T Mobility, said metrics from the brand's recent promotion with Reactrix showed a demonstrated ability to break through a cluttered environment, and more broadly, brought TV-like accountability to an out-of-home buy. "We're always looking for media that allows us to grab the consumer's attention," Mr. Evans said. "If the medium also offers us a chance to interact with a consumer and provides longer exposure than we would get normally when a consumer is exposed to an ad, those are all positives."

As OVAB nears completion of its standardized metrics system for the $1.28 billion out-of-home video market, vendors that have taken the most action in corralling their own third-party research and metrics will have the best chance at standing out with major buyers in the space.

Jack Sullivan, senior VP and out-of-home media director for Starcom, said he likes when companies like Reactrix are able to show what he considers "actuals" and not just opportunities to see an ad in an out-of-home environment.

"Likely-to-see is a nice number, but eyes-on is a model that hopefully will go a step further and deliver these actuals," Mr. Sullivan said. "If we tone down to the folks who truly engaged and actually did see the ad, then you can start talking to them to do something, impart on that action to make a purchase versus making a broad statement across those who might have had the opportunity and actually saw the ad." ~ ~ ~
Editor's Note: An ealier version of this story made a reference to moveable out-of-home video ads in New York's Grand Central Terminal. Those ads are not properties of Reactrix, but instead Monster Media.
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