Chinook Centre – Taking Over Your Car’s Front Windshield

If you have not travelled north or south bound on Macleod Trail coming into and going out of downtown Calgary lately, you might just want to take a trip. What you will notice is Chinook Centre has purchased a large majority of outdoor billboards going both directions on Macleod Trail. Although I have not counted myself, a reliable source had told me he has only seen 2 billboards that did not contain Chinook Centre advertising.

What I find quite interesting about this strategy is that, for all effective purposes, Chinook Centre is dominating the advertising vehicle of Macleod Trail. As I often explain to clients, all advertising is equal, the question of effectiveness boils down to how you use the medium and whether you control the medium. Clearly Chinook Centre for this Christmas Season has chosen to dominate outdoor on Macleod.

Dominate and Control Your Medium

Is this strategy going to pay off for Chinook Centre? According Neilson Ratings latest report on Outdoor Advertising, it appears to be looking that way. As reported today by MediaBuyer Planner,

Nielsen Reveals Outdoor Ratings Findings
Nielsen Outdoor released data yesterday captured during its outdoor ratings service in Chicago, which showed that outdoor is less cluttered than other areas of media, with average adults exposed to 40 outdoor messages per day, Adweek reports. For the first time, viewers of outdoor media have been identified, with advertisers able to learn, for example, that men 35-54 had the highest daily exposure to outdoor advertising, and that among women, those ages 18-34 led other female groups.

Exposed to 40 Outdoor Messages Per Day

The idea behind Nielsen’s research – which placed small GPS systems with 850 Chicagoans that tracked their traffic patterns for nine days – was to get to the “who” behind the “how many,” AdAge writes. For example, data found that the location of a site doesn’t necessarily define the demographics the ad reaches. While an ad in Lake County, Indiana – a suburb of Chicago with a proliferation of billboards geared toward high-end consumer items – might not make much sense based on the low-average income of residents, the frequency, exposure, and average income that was quantified by the study showed that the ads are effective in targeting wealthy commuters, Mediapost reports.

Nielsen hopes to roll out this system in the top 10 to 25 U.S. markets by late April 2006.

But in the meantime, the Traffic Audit Bureau has issued a request for proposals to provide demographic data on outdoor’s audience, which would augment the TAB’s current data of daily effective circulation. Nielsen has answered the bid.

While some sellers of outdoor advertising have raised the concern that Nielsen’s data can’t tie demographic data to any particular site, Nielsen has pointed out that that was never its intent. Rather, the goal was to get outdoor on a level playing field with other media.

Chinook’s Marketing Team has picked a winning strategy

It sure appears that Chinook’s Marketing Team has picked a winning strategy. The challenge lying ahead for Chinook Centre is measuring the effectiveness of this campaign. Everybody knows Chinook is going to have a great shopping season, every retailer in Calgary pretty much is going to have a record season, the real questions are;

What percentage of sales volume is this campaign expected to generate?
What increase in overall sales volume is the marketing team at Chinook going to credit to this campaign come January? How will they substantiate those numbers, and by this I mean, what is their process to say X percentage came as a result of this campaign in which we would not of had the opportunity to earn those revenues?