Pattison Onestop Opens The Ad Shop

Pattison Onestop, aka the digital division of Toronto-based Pattison Outdoor Advertising, launched a new service today aimed squarely at the hard to sell and service small business sector.

Called The Ad Shop, the service aggregates all of the company’s digital inventory online to allow easy buying and targeting, and makes templates available to build low cost ads.

Says the release this morning:

Through the Ad Shop, Pattison Onestop has eliminated the traditional barriers that have historically limited smaller business’ from buying out-of-home/billboard media.  Now, from just $ 2 dollars a day, a small/local advertiser can buy the specific Pattison Onestop media location(s) that are relevant to them.  

“Its easy, highly-targeted, and extremely cost-effective for all types of advertisers” says Michael Girgis, President of Pattison Onestop. “Through the Ad Shop, our commitment is that no campaign or advertiser is too small to have a powerful advertising program that’s uniquely relevant to them”. 

The Ad Shop is a strategically engineered solution to support small and medium sized businesses, with limited budgets, to gain access to thousands of digital advertising locations, available coast-to-coast.

 From the purchase of a digital media campaign in one geo-targeted subway station or shopping mall, to the purchase of 50+ Residential high-rises located within a 10-kilometer radius from an advertiser’s retail-location; the Ad Shop is an unprecedented new solution for advertisers to reach their customers like never before.

 Once advertisers select their preferred media locations, they enter the Ad Shop’s proprietary Content-Development-Module.  The CDM enables advertisers to browse and select from hundreds of creative templates, at no additional cost.  Advertisers choose the templates that appeal to them and within minutes, lock and upload their own, custom advertising message.   

Pattison has a diverse set of digital assets built on its own and via its Onestop acquisitions. They have at least 600 elevators in office towers, screens in some office retail concourses, lobbies of apartment blocks and hotels, shopping malls and passenger platforms of Toronto’s busy subway system. It does not include Pattison’s digital billboard inventory.

It’s an interesting approach. This is positioned as industry shaking, but I am largely ambivalent.

Selling to the SMB market is hard work, and this lowers some barriers.The hope, of course, is that advertisers find them instead of having account executives chase that business, which is costly and typified by lots of “No.” The service provides advertising templates for a mob that would only rarely have its own media mayterial. And it gets payment up front.

However, a quick run through the Ad Shop shows buys CAN be really cheap, but they can also get expensive quickly. The produced ads and advertisers still need approval at most venues by the property or mall manager, or subway authorities. The injury accident lawyers and cash for gold guys who might buy ads will – based on what I know about commercial real estate – get rejected in many/most cases.

The other big challenge, of course, is you have to create awareness to drive activity – but Pattison does have all those digital screens to  run Ad Shop spots.

Aggregating Digital OOH has been tried and it has largely failed. This is aggregation on a smaller, focused scale. I like the simple user experience, but you still have to get people to use it and, more than anything, to fork over the cash. Small businesses are getting banged on all day long by a parade of media entities – from print to mobile – and they lately have been trying daily deals offers that provide some quantifiable results (ie coupons that drive people through the doors).

The ad inventory that is perhaps most attractive is also going to have much higher CPMs, as Pattison still wants to sell these slots to national and regional brands and can’t lower rates to get the SMB stuff.

So .. we’ll see. But a hat tip for the innovation.