Eye invited a group of clients, partners and journalists for an exclusive VIP tour of Gatwick Airport where they showed us its new digital media solutions. Integrated into the airport infrastructure, the new platform complements Gatwick’s ongoing GBP 1 billion investment programme to help modernise the airport and transform the passenger experience. Eye’s digital developments form part of a national network with similar solutions being rolled out at each of Eye’s seven UK airports.
For this project it is working with interactive content creation company Monster Media. This is particularly daring considering that so far they don’t have any specific campaign booked for these screens. On the demonstration there were a couple of mock campaigns that were very easy to use. These screens are designed to have one person at a time interacting.
These screens work in two ways, not only do they allow people to play with their content but they also gather important information for the advertisers and translate it into graphics. It will be very interesting to see how this network evolves, who uses it and how and what results they get from it.
As Eye points out, the new digital media solutions are designed to harness passengers’ increased dwell time, positive mindset and propensity to spend at the airport.
The recently installed LED 10mm screen in arrivals, part of Eye’s Digital Arrivals Network, is very impressive. The company is working with Screach  to create content that will not only be informative but also allow people to interact with the screen using their mobile devices.
For instance, very soon a passenger waiting for his or her bags could send a message to the arrival screens letting know whoever is waiting for them that they will be out soon. On this visit we were able to send messages to the screen from an iPhone and an iPad.
What Eye is seeking to achieve with the positioning and functionality of its screens is to provide advertisers with the opportunity to deliver high impact brand messages. Portrait digital screens along the departures route serve as retail prompts and enable advertisers’ deeper engagement and data capture via a national network of touchscreens.
But it is not a case of traditional vinyl signs versus digital. Eye’s investment in UK airport media is relevant and complementary to other OOH media channels. The use of digital also provides a more harmonious and clean environment at the airport, stripped from clutter and visual noise. It also allows the change of content to be done is a quick and seamless way.
Alastair Bannerman, Global Marketing Director for EYE, says: “Passenger experience is central to both the developments in airport and media infrastructure. State of the art security and baggage screening mean simpler, more efficient and stress free passage through to new departure lounges which are more in keeping with upmarket malls.
“Conventional wisdom often assumes that airport passengers either live abroad or are in transit but with 75% of our passengers being UK residents, brand decisions made at our airports translate to pounds spent in the UK economy.”
Underpinning EYE’s GBP 3.5m investment in new UK airport media, is new research which shows that:
- Over two thirds of passengers said they would be influenced by digital advertising technology at airports
- Almost 80% said that touchscreen technology would add to their airport journey experience
- 64% said they would welcome advertising directed specifically at them
Eye is serious about its research and at the moment it is planning to carry out Neuro Imaging research  to find out the reactions that passengers have to the advertising they see at the airport.
For a week leading to Christmas, a total of 150 people, half business travellers and half leisure travellers, will be fitted with caps on their head that will monitor their brain activity to see how the what they see impacts on their memory, emotional response and engagement.
Bannerman concludes “As airports and airport audiences globally are changing, the opportunities for advertisers are greater than ever before. Our research shows that the vast majority of passengers are more receptive to commercial messages in airports and our pioneering digital solutions are designed to embrace this. Our new products offer unparalleled brand experience, creative flexibility and data capture and I am delighted to see the UK leading the way.”