Strangely familiar

I founded a company about three years ago, along with a very patient friend, that put screens in the bustling PATH system in downtown Toronto.

The concept was, and is, simple – treat busy walkways like major roadways and line them with digital billboards. It works, though admittedly if it was working THAT well I would be semi-blotto on a beach … in perpetuity.

Now, three years later, someone else has picked up on this.

Last Mile Marketing of the Minneapolis area has started installing screens in the parking structures and skyways leading into shopping areas in Indianapolis and St. Paul. They have a series of LCDs playing out ad spots, as well as weather, traffic conditions, sports scores and financial news.

We'll see how this goes.

At 30 seconds, and even 15, the ads are quite possibly too long for people buzzing along. And the guys behind this will have a tough go selling on audience numbers. The busiest stretch sees 600,000 people a year, which sounds like a lot. But it's really just 1,650 a day, or 100 or so an hour if the walkway is open 18 hours a day.

With Concourse Media, just one of our walkways gets 124,000 people a day … and the media planners aren't bowling each other over to buy in just yet.

Things are changing. Advertisers are getting it. But you absolutely need a lot of eyeballs, or some very well-positioned ones right at the moment of decision.

I like the Last Mile name, but I am not convinced a walkway leading to a downtown mall qualifies. Nonetheless, best wishes guys!