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The lure of the 'big screen'

Making an impact on political stakeholders

· politics,big screens,advertising

By Nathan Coyne

In Hollywood, you’ve ‘made it’ once your work has hit the big screen.

Seeing films and animations that we’ve produced at Senate Media on a ‘big screen’ for the first time, it’s a sentiment I can recognise.

Ok, we’re not talking cinema or our work going on national release. But seeing the animation we produced for Port of Dover on a big screen at last year’s political party conferences is just about the pinnacle in our line of work (ok, ok, maybe getting an award would top it).

Port of Dover animation on the big screen at the Conservative party conference in Manchester 2017

In fact everywhere you looked at either the Conservative or Labour party conferences last year there was a screen showing our work.

It definitely felt like something to be proud of, but wasn’t just an exercise in navel-gazing. The content we produced was having an impact. The Port of Dover animation I mentioned ended up on Channel 4 news and being tweeted by James Forsyth, who writes for the Spectator and the Sun, receiving more than 2,500 retweets and 3,000 likes in the process.

This autumn will be the fifth year we’ve run a network of digital screens at both the Conservative and Labour conferences.

But why does it work to such an extent that some clients are returning for the fifth successive year? Well, we’ve looked beyond the obvious fact that opportunities to target your message to more than 10,000 political stakeholders for four days straight don’t come around too often, to find some broader statistics on why digital screen advertising is a successful medium.

The stats originate from studies on screen and digital billboard advertising conducted recently, up to those carried out a decade ago but are still relevant today.

The headline stat we discovered was that digital signage is the most eye-catching type of media, catching the attention of 63% of people surveyed.

(WATCH: Dan Atkinson discusses screen advertising at the political party conferences)

A separate study shows that half of people who saw a message on a digital screen could recall the specific message they saw.

Taken together these figures present a pretty strong case for considering digital screens in locations where large numbers of your target audience will be present.

The ‘eye-catching’ stat, in a study for OTX, compares digital screens favourably to magazine advertising which was only considered eye-catching by 57% of people.

The study also shows that 44% of people pay “some” or “a lot” of attention to ads running on digital signs, which is higher than those who pay attention ads on the internet (32%).

And it reveals that digital signage is considered more unique (58%), interesting (53%) and entertaining (48%), but less annoying (26%) than other media.

This is backed up by a study for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America who said that “ads on digital billboards stand out more than ads online.”

The positive feeling towards digital signage is also represented in this study, with 72% of people thinking it is a “cool way to advertise”.

A further study for Arbitron shows that viewers engage with the content, with 47% of people surveyed specifically recalling seeing a digital video display advert in the last month.

These stats shouldn’t really come as any surprise. Most people would hypothesise that an animated advert would garner greater attention than a static equivalent. But it is good to back up a hypothesis with hard evidence.

And there’s one further stat that should please both advertisers and conference hosts. Digital screens placed near queues provide an excellent way of distracting people from their wait.

The study, by Lavi Industries, shows that digital signage reduces perceived waiting times by as much as 35%.

Next time you join a long queue for your lunch at conference, only to find you’re at the cashier before you know it, it’ll probably be down to one of our screens.

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