How To Use Ambient Media

Finding novel ways to reach consumers

Ambient media are unconventional and unorthodox media sometimes called 'guerrilla media' in the US that mostly either intercept consumers closer to the point of purchase (POP) than more orthodox media or are sufficiently spectacular to generate PR coverage out of all proportion to their cost.

They have much in common with promotions of various kinds, and are frequently promotional vehicles, though this article is chiefly concerned with more strategic 'advertising' uses of ambient media. Some commentators have christened ambient media point-of-action (POA) media (7).

As a separate category, ambient media are quite new (the term seems to have appeared first in the trade press around 1997), though some ambient formats most POP advertising, for example are long established. A key element in using ambient media, however, is surprise getting at the consumer when least expected, so that new locations, and new formats, are constantly being invented (or reinvented) (1, 3, 5, 6).