Advertising Is Just A Lot Of Hot Air

Critics claim that advertising is just a lot of hot air. For the next month, at certain bus stops, they will have a point. In the latest example of a trend that is becoming increasingly popular on Madison Avenue, heated air will descend from the roofs of 10 bus shelters in Chicago, courtesy of the Stove Top brand of stuffing sold by Kraft Foods. From Tuesday through the end of this month, Kraft is arranging for the company that builds and maintains the bus shelters, JCDecaux North America, to heat them, trying to bring to life the warm feeling that consumers get when they eat stuffing, according to Kraft. Such “experiential marketing” is intended to entice consumers to experience products or brands tangibly rather than bombard them with pitches. It is a response to the growing ability of consumers to ignore or avoid traditional advertising, thanks to technology like digital video recorders. Experiential marketing is also an acknowledgment that products and brands must offer alternatives to the interruptive model of peddling that has been the mainstay of advertising for more than a half-century, which disrupts what consumers want to watch, read or hear. “Stove Top as a brand has a great equity in the area of warmth,” said Ellen Thompson, brand manager for Stove Top at Kraft Foods in Glenview, Ill. “This is an opportunity to expand into a multisensory experience.” The 10 heated shelters, primarily in downtown Chicago locations like Michigan Avenue and State Street, will have posters that read: “Cold, provided by winter. Warmth, provided by Stove Top.” The posters will also appear on 40 other bus shelters that will not have heated roofs. During the first three weeks of December, Kraft plans to give samples of a new variety of Stove Top, called Quick Cups, to commuters and passers-by at half of the heated shelters. “People don’t always think of Stove Top for an everyday meal,” said Jamie Mattikow, vice president for marketing in the grocery division at Kraft. “In these hard times, when people are eating more at home,” he added, there is “a great opportunity to introduce our brands to people in a new way.” (From The New York Times)

 

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