Ambient Advertising

Ambient advertising is about placing ads on unusual items or in unusual places you wouldn’t normally see an ad. An ambient ad doesn’t have to be placed outside. Ambient advertising can be found anywhere and everywhere! The key to a successful ambient media campaign is to choose the best media format available and combined with effective message. These kinds of ads often make someone think about a certain place or thing differently. A common trend we see in ambient advertising is taking an object and making it in larger or smaller scale. When we see something is is either abnormally large or small, we can’t help but to stop and gander. It’s a great way to raise curiosity and get the person to come and take a closer look. Scotch-Brite, a 3M group brand called on the agency Havas Sports & Entertainment, placed a large version of their product on the side of a building near the legendary Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.[1]

Ambient advertising evolved as a concept because it has a lasting impact on the minds of consumers which makes it more effective. Ambient advertising is all about creativity, and how effectively the advertiser is able to communicate the message to the consumers. Ambient advertising can be done along with traditional means of advertisement or as a standalone form of communication. The idea behind ambient advertising is to surprise consumers with its placement. For example, advertising behind a car is not unusual, but using wiper as a part of adverting will look something different and will throw an element of surprise in the minds of consumers. Ambient advertising makes an impact because it is intelligently placed, has a wow factor to it, makes a direct impact on the mind of consumers, effective way of communicating the message across to target consumers etc. The first thing that will catch your eye when you are looking at an ambient advertisement would be its unusual location. The second characteristics of such an advertising is the fact that there is no repetition.[2]

Ambient advertising, as per many advertising agencies, also refers to advertising at locations where people spend more time. These include shopping malls, multiplexes, coffee shops, gyms, sporting clubs, amusement parks, etc. These advertising formats can be static, digital or experiential. Ambient advertising uses 'consumer dwell time' as the core insight behind advertising at these places. It is believed that compared to traditional out-of-home of billboard advertising, ambient advertising gives scope for higher consumer engagement for the ad, as well as drive contextually relevant communication for the advertiser. The term started to appear in British media jargon around 1999, but now seems to be firmly established as a standard term within the advertising industry. One of the driving agencies was the advertising agency Concord (UK). Ambient media advertising can be used in conjunction with mainstream traditional media, or used equally effectively as a stand-alone activity. The key to a successful ambient media campaign is to choose the best media format available and combined with effective message. Ambient advertising is only a niche for advertising agencies of overcoming traditional methods of advertising to get the attention of consumers. The following are some reasons for the growth of ambient media:

  • A decline in the power of traditional media.
  • A greater demand for point-of-sale communications.
  • Its ability to offer precise audience targeting.
  • Its general versatility.

Ambient advertisements are effective means at pushing a brand message in front of consumers and can develop even better top of mind recall within target audiences. This provides the ability to advertisers to maintain brand awareness created by other advertising efforts. Ambient media can produce mass attention in centralized locations, or directly interact with consumers during normal every day activities.[3]


  1. What is Ambient Advertising? CGM
  2. Definition of Ambient Advertising Economic Times
  3. Ambient Media Wikipedia

Further Reading

  • Ambient Media as the New Approach for Advertising A.V. Dudnikova
  • Most ambient advertising really annoys people Live Mint