Ads on golf cart GPS screens explained

September 12, 2008 by Dave Haynes

I have posted a few times about my skepticism regarding the advertising on golf carts thing as a viable advertising model for little digital screens.

The idea is to include advertising on the GPS screens mounted in carts of courses I can’t afford to play, to tell hackers how far it is back to the fairway.

I wonder, first, if there are anywhere near enough sets of eyeballs each day, no matter how many clubs are installed. And second, how hard this is to sell?

MediaPost did a network profile on ProLink Media, which relentlessly issues news releases as it adds new sites, and i am a little more enlightened and on board with the concept. But not sold.

The proximity part will enable marketers to reach ProLink’s high-end consumer base – typically affluent, middle-aged males with high earning and discretionary buying power – at a time when they are relaxing, and acutely focused on the content adjacent to those brand messages: GPS-based estimates guiding them on the distance to the next hole, and the golf clubs they would need to effectively make that shot.

“Our research shows that the GPS system actually improves, on average, four strokes per round for the average player,” Batkin notes, adding that the average “dwell” time per ad message between each hole is about 12 minutes, and typically incorporates three distinct messages: a quarter page ad when the player tees up, a new quarter page ad when he or she hits the fairway (150 yards from the green), and a final full-page ad when the player takes the green.

Findings from an Edison Research study indicate that the combination of ad rotation and proximity are especially effective, generating unaided recall of brand messages as high as 70%.

“The fact that people are looking at that screen maybe five to eight times at a particular hole puts us in a very unique position. That’s why the recall rates are so high, because the advertising is adjacent to very vital information that people are using to select the right club for their needs,” Batkin explains, citing are recent campaign run by Micheloeb as a good example. The beer marketer ran one message at the 9th hole reminding golfers that they are “getting close to the club house,” also infamously known as the 19th hole. At the 18th hole the Micheloeb messages change to “finish strong” and end with “one good round deserves another.”

ProLink says it reaches more than 13 million golfers in the US via its 30,000 GPS screens. The audience is primarily male, with an average net worth of more than $1.4 million andannual household income exceeding $165,000.

The company has an upfront show and tell for New York media planners later this month.

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