GSTV tinkers with ads that echo ads
March 17, 2009 by Dave Haynes
Gas Station TV, which has a network of screens Guess Where, is offering up a new kind of ad spot placement that sees one spot in a cycle followed, or echoed, a little later by another, shorter spot.
These so-called Echo Ads will run on the pump screens and also inside station c-stores where GSTV is operating, with the notion that the doubled-down ads boost recall and influence purchases. They can also tag a main spot with coupons, offers or secondary messages.
The first advertiser to use the spots is Ford, which is augmenting its current 2010 Ford Fusion + Hybrid launch campaign with directions to the nearest Ford Dealership. Additional information will reinforce the main product message of fuel economy. Ford’s Tier I communications manager explained: “Gas Station TV’s Nielsen Research shows consumers are motivated by shorter-format ads, which is why we are launching the Ford Fusion campaign using their new Echo Ads.”
Last June, Gas Station TV revealed the results of a custom study performed by Nielsen showing that 10- and 15-second spots are equal or superior to 30-second spots in terms of brand recall. The study was conducted over a two-week period at 24 GSTV-equipped U.S. gas stations in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Dallas, comparing ad recall for 10-, 15- and 30-second spots from two national advertisers.
The creative content, style and tone of the ads were similar, with length the only significant variable. To determine ad recall, Nielsen randomly surveyed customers over the age of 18 with 16 questions related to their behavior at the gas station, advertising recall and purchase intent. Overall, almost 90% of respondents said they watched or listened to GSTV programming while fueling.
The findings lend quantitative support to the general feeling–often expressed by observers of place-based and Internet video–that 30-second spots are not suitable for such media, which is dominated by short-form content. In particular, it suggests that in a limited period of captive viewing, 30-second spots overwhelm the short-form content, and risk losing the viewer’s interest.
In some respects, this is just a packaged-up way of increasing an ad campaign’s frequency. But I do like any effort to reduce ad spot lengths, particularly when it is backed up by some research.
There’s evidence in the marketplace that attention spans are really short, as in less than five seconds, when it comes to DOOH advertising, so it would be really interesting to see a network have a run at booking 15 second ad spots, but breaking them up into three distinct, five-second chunks.