Aeroports de Paris teams up with consumer brands to offer free airport amenities

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Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, brands have found new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers. Coined by trendwatching.com, ‘tryvertising’ can be thought of as “product placement in the real world, whereby brands integrate their goods and services into daily life in a relevant way, so that consumers can make up their minds based on their experience, not on the message.” Being high-traffic locations with a diverse and international mix of consumers, brands see airports as a good setting for tryvertising campaigns, while for airports they are an economical way to improve the service, or even as an additional source of revenue.

The free, branded, airport amenities are also examples of the ‘marketing as a service’ trend (or ‘Brand Butlers’ in trendwatching.com lingo). When advertising no longer talks at you but actually does something for you, then it becomes a service. Brands get meaningful exposure, airports get happier travellers and consumers perceive the brand as an emphatic and helpful resource.

While tryvertising/brand butler services can be found at airports around the world (see our Facebook page for an extensive slideshow), Aéroports de Paris, which operates Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly airports, has embraced the concept on a large scale.

Samsung and Sony brand spaces
At the end of July 2011, consumer electronics brand Samsung opened the ‘Samsung SoundCorner’ at Charles de Gaulle airport’s terminal 2B boarding lounge. The free entertainment and music lounge consists of individual alcoves equipped with Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to relax while listening to music. The tablets give access to the SoundCorner application, developed by Universal Music, which offers a selection of a hundred songs to listen (the selection is renewed every month). The alcoves also have connection stations to plug in passengers’  own devices so they can listen to their own music via the directional sound speakers fitted in every alcove. A central screen also plays video clips non-stop.

Sony Salon Vidéo
Charles de Gaulle airport earlier this year also opened a ‘Salon Vidéo HD’ in partnership with Sony. The ‘mini cinema’ has 5 large armchairs that seat two people, each equipped with a Sony Bravia 40″ high-definition screen and a PlayStation3. Each module has its own directional speakers built into the upper part and a remote control built into one armrest, and offers recent films, TV shows or cartoons from Sony Entertainment (a new selection is made available each month).

Gaming and power poles
To help waiting travellers pass the time in a more entertaining way, Sony has also installed more than 100 free PlayStation3 gaming poles near departure gates at Paris CDG and Orly airports. Passengers can play 20 of Sony’s best-selling demo games and the gaming poles have side panels for privacy and stools to let gamers sit. Similar complimentary Sony PSP stations have also been installed at Hong Kong International Airport.

Samsung PowerPoles
As power outlets at airports are often hidden in uncomfortable places, Samsung Mobile spotted an opportunity for a helpful branded service, and in 2009 installed 55 so-called ‘PowerPoles’ for recharging mobile phones at CDG and Orly, so passengers can charge their electronic devices while remaining seated. The Samsung branded poles each have eight power outlets and provide counters to place laptop computers. The hubs also house a glass display unit to showcase Samsung’s latest electronic devices. Samsung Mobile in cooperation with JC Decaux in recent years has installed several hundred of these branded charging stations at airports in the USA, Europe and Japan.

Branded kids areas
As several million kids arrive and leave from CDG each year for their ‘pilgrimage’ to Disneyland Paris, the airport teamed up with French kids TV network Gulli to develop ‘Gulli Play Areas’ at several boarding lounges of CDG Terminal 2 and Orly. Kids can entertain themselves in a ‘planisphere’ or watch Gulli programming. In the airport’s words: “To escape traditional play areas, treat your children to the innovative Gulli sites devised by the Gulli channel. Here, youngsters can unwind in a world of mazes, distorted mirrors and an array of exercises aimed at jolting children’s visual memory. TV corners keep children well-behaved and give parents a relaxing break from the turmoil of travel.”

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