Digital Advertising in Nightclubs

Digital Advertising in Nightclubs

Targeted Digital Advertising; the “Why”

Targeted advertising is “in”; mass media advertising is out. We can already see how in-effective mass media advertising is, with the decline in revenues faced by traditional media delivery platforms such as television and print. Even Digital mass media advertising is slowly suffering, with the introduction of built in email spam filters and laws against cold calling and unsolicited SMS coming into force in many countries. It was always a hit and miss affair anyway. The idea that you spam everyone,  and hopefully attract or trap many.

With control of media consumption now in the hands of the consumer, there is a focus on media delivery that places importance on quality over quantity. Just as the shift from traditional to Digital Media by consumers allows them granular control over what they consume, the same advantage can be used to the benefit of the advertiser, tailoring and targeting the brand message to a desired demographic, thereby achieving a higher and measurable success rate, than blindly “broadcasting” a message that never reaches the audience because of automated filtering and end user control.  Targeted Digital Advertising can be applied to segments of society, such as the financially more stable Senior Citizen, but focus has always been on the cool and younger Gen Y or Millennials, as an audience .

Targeted Digital Advertising in Nightclubs; the “How”

Interactive Visuals - Perfect for Brand Entertainment

Interactive Visuals – Perfect for Brand Entertainment

The aim of every advertiser is to get a consumers attention. It used be a matter of “eyeballs”. That form of metric was not always straightforward to gauge success, because there was no guaranteed way to measure how many eyeballs saw an Ad. For example, for a Digital Signage flat screen or Billboard in a shopping mall, while the footfall may be 1000 per hour, there is no guarantee that 1000 pairs of eyeballs saw and registered the ad on the billboard. Some times there are eye tracking devices, but a casual glance does not mean that the Ad was registered. Interaction is always a sure fire way of guaranteeing that the brand message has been absorbed, but until such a time that people Interact with a Billboard, the search for ideal Media delivery platforms continue.

Nightclubs are an ideal targeted platform to address the affluent, and young adult demographic. This has of course been realized and not wasted by brands that deal exclusively with this demographic. But in most cases and barring a few sponsored events, the brands using this media platform have only been the ones that cannot advertise freely over mass media, i.e. tobacco and alcohol brands.

Nightclubs are a place where people are at their relaxed best. They are there to be entertained, and unlike other entertainment media platforms such as television or venue based locations such as Cinemas, where the entertainment is passive, Nightclubs offer the perfect interactive entertainment venue. All that a brand needs to know is, how to provide the audience or consumer with a “Brand Entertainment” experience.

Brand Entertainment:

In most advertising scenarios, the brand message is pushed, in-between the entertainment. This is noticed in everything from Radio, television, Cinema and even a magazine. The key difference in christening the Nightclub as a media platform, is that it allows the brand to entertain!

What does Brand Entertainment mean? In context to nightclubs, brand entertainment would mean that the brand message, product or service is actually disguised as part of the entertainment, and is subtly different from what “branded entertainment” is. It can be interactive, and engaging, where the consumer is unaware of any distinction between advert and entertainment and the brand is thus accepted with brand recall lasting a lot longer.

Digital Advertising and Brand Entertainment Scenarios:

The more simple methods of current advertising in Nightclubs have been banners, branded coasters and back lit posters. Some modern clubs have evolved to inserting adverts in between visual entertainment on screens in the clubs. This is nothing more than the cable TV advertising model. The closest that a very few nightclubs have come to interactivity is “Txting” to screen, whereby SMS messages are sent to the Dj cabin and the VJ (visuals jockey) displays them on screens. With technology getting a lot more diverse and affordable, the era of interactive Digital Advertising can take on a whole new form for content delivery and advertising in Nightclubs.

– Twitter to Screen:

Twitter interaction in Nightclubs

Twitter interaction in Nightclubs

Every Digital Advertising agency is familiar with the power of Twitter. It’s engaging, and is very interactive. What better way to succinctly pass on brand messages and advertising, than using a system to allow patrons in a nightclub, the ability to send their tweets to the big screen. The VJ in the club, can tie the whole experience to any brand, via background images, running twitter slogan contests, and even sending out branded tweets.

This invites audience participation from people sitting in lounge areas as well as people on the dance floor. With a little ingenuity, the display of tweets can be made to display in sync with the music beat. Highly targeted use of a Digital advertising technology.

– 3D Visuals and Brand Entertainment:

3D visuals at Nightclubs - credit: 3opolis

3D visuals at Nightclubs – credit: 3opolis

With the release of the movie Avatar, it seems that 3D has finally established itself as a household name. 3D visuals in nightclubs offer a whole new experience that even Cinemas cannot provide. If the fantasy forest in Avatar made people want to step into the scene, then when such visuals are displayed on big screens in nightclubs, the sense of immersion is heightened. The ambiance, music and 3D elements “floating” around people, makes them involuntarily reach out and want to touch or interact with these elements. Perfect timing to have an animated Bacardi bat fly out in 3D over the dance-floor. Visuals with a desert highway showing depth and the latest BMW driving past in 3D and in sync with the music can have a great impact and “Ooooh” factor.

The VJ is key to making this happen. 3D visuals, and floating text are a lot different than normal nightclub graphics, and if done wrong  can cause nausea and headaches. This could get magnified if alcohol is involved. When done right however, it gives a whole new dimension to audience (consumer) engagement.  Luxury Brands can have a captive, targeted audience to address. After all these are the ones most likely to buy or spread the news about the product, and will not tune out, flip the page or switch the channel, because they find themselves involuntarily interacting with the brand.

Digital Advertising does not have to be visuals based only. Branded music albums in mp3 format can be offered for download from a wifi network in the nightclub. If a private network is setup in the club, audiences with smart phones can connect without having to pay internet access charges. The potential for audience engagement is vast, with social interaction in the form of virtual chat rooms, photo boards etc. accessible within the radius of the wireless network in the club. All these forms of interaction make Nightclubs the ideal media platform for targeted Digital Advertising. This was not possible just a few years ago.

Marketing and Advertising agencies need to constantly brainstorm and identify new avenues and be willing to adapt themselves to the direction that advertising and media delivery is heading.

Dirrogates – Transhumanism and The Singularity:

Nightclubs feature as an important setting for advertising and part of the plot in the story Memories with Maya. Read the hard science fiction based novel “Memories With Maya” to learn more about how Augmented Reality, Quantum Archeology and Posthumanism may change our lives within the next few decades.

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  • clydeD

    I take the liberty of posting this rather long (rant?), to further explain that Nightclubs as a targeted Digital Advertising platform, does not mean it should be treated as just another Digital Signage or Video Billboard venue. – This clarification of thought is due to the many responses I got from Business networking site LinkediN in the Marketing and advertising forums there. It is no doubt due to the passive nature of media delivery platforms that the industry has been used to for so many years. The true meaning of “interactive targeted advertising” is constantly evolving. Below is an attempt to explain more:

    Having done Brand-Entertainment (which is different from branded entertainment) in nightclubs for over 10 years, as the date stamp on this web archive shows:

    Above is exactly the situation or problem that I run up against with traditional advertising and marketing agencies… The notion that “advertising” and brand messaging is a passive “glue eyeballs to a screen” thing.

    It's not like that at all, in this day and age. Believe me, I speak from experience (as an old school DJ and an ex VJ). The younger Generation trip out on visuals at clubs.. it goes with the music, and visuals are an integral part of clubbing for the past 5 years at least.

    Yes you will get the traditional AD or Marketing guy who thinks that branding on a screen is playing the TVC in-between the visuals as many times as possible in 30 minutes to get “maximum exposure” or even worse, reading about subliminal advertising and then suggesting that the brand logo flash or strobe to the beat of the music! :-)

    Trust me, this is not the way it's done. At least this is not the way it should be done. I've successfully been doing “brand entertainment” at clubs long enough to know better. Granted it's not been a main work area, just a hobby/passion that pays money, that's why it's not been heard of mainstream. (that, and I couldn't tweet about it back then)

    But the timing is ripe right now , this is 2010 where technology catches up with ideas. (James Cameron and Avatar is testament to this statement)

    Now… the most important part and again this is why I suggest this article be read:

    …is because I really feel that traditional advertising has been dragged on for too long in the same boring manner. This is why agencies are suddenly scrambling to wrap their brains around successful use of technology and mediums such as social networking, twitter and Augmented Reality. It's because they “think” with blinkers peripheral vision or insight, only looking straight ahead.

    What i'm ranting on (and hope u forgive it) about is, that Nightclubs as a targeted Digital Advertising platform does not have to be about another Screen or Digital Signage solution only – No, far from it!

    In the article, I did mention other technologies that enable nightclubs ( even pubs) to be the platform of choice for targeted digital advertising

    A private wifi network once setup allows the young ones to walk in with their smart phones (yes the same ones who while on the way to the Club HAVE TO update their facebook status or tweet about it). They can have access to downloads, branded and sponsored downloads of music, videos etc.

    Imagine those people – todays 18 to 30 yr olds.. when they walk into a club and get free wifi access from the club network to tweet, upload FB pics live, enter virtual worlds, chat with other punters etc. THIS is where the digital advertising subtly flows in. and things like analytics and metrics in the back-end make sense.

    Twitter jokes flashed on the screen, allowing them to win a free Budweiser sponsored by _______ … thats an example of non intrusive and acceptable branding by the public.

    I can't go on with more free ideas 😉 but you get the gist of it.
    So as an ex Dj and Vj, take it from me, the audience is ALWAYS interested in technology meeting lifestyle in an interesting manner! not the boring way that advertising has been traditionally done on screens.
    You have to be living in the nightclub scene, to think creatively in that space. Just as a bad tune does not carry on well on the Dancefloor, the secret is in knowing the pulse of the crowd.

    This again does not mean you are targeting “ravers”, it applies to pubs, nightclubs, concert event venues and more chic “buddah bar” lounges as well, where clients are brand influencers and cash rich!

    Being greeted on the club screens when they walk in with thier buddies. They then switch on and interact! and when you have successfully “invaded” their Digital Personal Space.. you pass on the brand message.

    To borrow more cliche phrases: Paradigm shifts in creative thinking is what's needed, and Disruptive Digital Advertising ideas are needed to target the demographic of affluent, brand influencers in the 18 – 30 yr old segment.

  • msevi

    …this is exactly what my partner and I have been talking about…so interesting and RIGHT ON…I would LOVE to pick your brain and learn more about how to get this started… genius!!!!

  • ms.evi

    …this is exactly what my partner and I have been talking about…so interesting and RIGHT ON…I would LOVE to pick your brain and learn more about how to get this started… genius!!!!