First impressions: Borders TV

January 14, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Ad network operator Ripple TV did a deal with Borders more than a year ago to put screens in its book stores.

Up here in the tundra we don’t have Borders (it’s Chapters and Indigo), so I have not seen one of the installs until Tuesday, when I wandered into the store at Madison Square Garden in New York, killing a few minutes before a meeting nearby.

Ripple has one screen on each level, mounted on a support column, up maybe eight or nine feet.

The good news: Nice clear design with crisp graphics and rich colors. A clear Borders brand in a corner. A side panel with store brand and marketing statements.

The bad news: Very few ads, and the ones that were on there (for Microsoft) might have been as long as 60 seconds. Honest. Tiny, pointless news ticker along the bottom.

The incomprehensible: The majority of the content was nicely produced interviews with authors, which are probably pretty interesting and useful. But they are talking heads segments, and there’s no audio (or at least not in this location). WTF??? I should note the segments point people online to, which has all the segments. So at least there has been some thought around that.

I spoke to numerous retail design people at the NRF show and a common thread was their feeling that there were few, if any, retail rollouts that truly nailed the opportunity. Too many have that “find some place to stick up some screens” look. I’m afraid this falls well into that category. 

Ripple has very impressively built out a network of some 1,500 sites over a short period, and have signed up some nice chains. But I just don’t know how this effort, at least what I saw, works for them or Borders. Screens like this in an intimate setting like a coffee or bagel chain has some impact. In a BIG bookstore, not so much. 

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