Consumers Secretly Love Their Airport Dwell Times, Brands Do Too!

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It’s no secret

Or maybe it is. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, alone or with a colleague, friend or family member, we’ve all missed our time enjoying the restaurants, shopping and other experiences today’s state-of-the-art airports offer – our “dwell time.” For a world and a society always on deadline, that might sound a bit far-fetched. Especially to the hurried business or giddy leisure traveler anxious to arrive at their destinations.

But reflect for a minute to that time when you closed out a phone call with “Call ya back, I’m going through security” or “Gotta go, I’m about to board a plane.” I’ll bet at least one of those times you were neither going through security nor boarding the plane!

Instead, you secretly chose to use your time spent in the airport as your proverbial jet bridge to your own state of suspended animation where you eschewed the text message, zoom or call from the office and achieved your own utopia (dwell time). I give you permission to embrace this reality! And I’m not alone. The savviest brands are in on the secret, too. And they also want you to enjoy your airport dwell time.

The latest TSA numbers show a boom in this summer’s travel season as we witnessed a significant return to travel. Moreover, this increase in air travel took flight despite the rise in the price of jet fuel and airline tickets, proving we’ve all been experiencing air travel withdrawals.

This reality, and this latest passenger travel data, underscore a powerful opportunity for brands to engage with both the business and leisure traveler as they’re “going through security” or “boarding their flight.” Many brands are already leveraging this space to reach these audiences and influence outcomes.

At Clear Channel Airports, we’re seeing a trend among higher education and healthcare marketers leaning more into this captive opportunity to engage with consumers during this crucial time when they’re open to unique brand experiences within our airport spaces. This strategy is taking off through airport terminal and concourse takeovers in a brand’s own backyard, and, through the placement of iconic branded statutes essentially planting a flag in their school’s hometown turf. Here are some recent examples:

Education that Elevates

St. John’s University executed a campaign and takeover of portions of JFK airport, including the original creation and strategic placement of an iconic statue. Central to the “Education that Elevates” campaign, and reflective of the University’s reach, is an eight-foot-tall and six-foot-wide statue of the St. John’s University crest. The crest sat prominently in John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport’s Terminal Four. On display throughout the spring, the statue stood tall in a key terminal that now welcomes more than 1.5M passengers monthly.

The Power of "I"

The University of Illinois was the first to execute this type of flight pattern when they placed a statue of their own in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) proclaiming, “The Power of I.” The creation and placement of this structure made it one of the largest, most visible landmarks at one of the world's busiest airports. Moreover, this icon was hosted in terminal three which sees approximately 41% of passenger traffic and is the busiest terminal at ORD—which is the fourth busiest airport in the world (Airports Council International (ACI) April 14, 2022).

Speaking to The News Gazette, UI Senior Executive of Marketing & Media Matt Wszolek, said of the activation, “The level of engagement is going from A to B. That’s really what the objective was. We’re a land-grant university. It’s a major metro airport. It’s our state, and we’re excited to show the impact we’re making.”

Emory Healthcare & Emory University Takeover Atlanta-Hartsfield

And just this year, Emory University and Emory Healthcare partnered in an advertising takeover of their hometown airport, which also happens to be the world’s busiest airport: Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL).

Atlantic Healthcare Takeover at Newark Liberty International

Atlantic Healthcare launched the same block and tackle strategy a month ago when they secured exclusive rights as the only health entity to advertise in Newark’s Liberty International (EWR) Airport.

Cleared for Landing

As every marketer knows, reaching consumers when they have the time and attention span to engage in a brand experience is marketing gold. Higher education and healthcare are just two categories turning to OOH to capture the attention of coveted consumer groups as airport travel reignites. And while summer holidays are in the rearview, the holiday travel season is just starting!