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AB InBev taps outdoor innovation

News, 07 October 2016

NEW YORK: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewing giant, has successfully explored some of the new outdoor digital marketing solutions which could ultimately come to form part of the "physical web".

Sarah Jones, AB InBev's Manager of Connections Capabilities, discussed how the company is tapping select new outdoor digital marketing tools during the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2016 MIXX Conference.

More specifically, she reported that services like LinkNYC – which is replacing pay phones with 55-inch screens, free WiFi and gratis telephone calls in the Big Apple – might soon offer various opportunities to marketers.

"The intersection of digital and the physical world, for us, is of extreme importance," she added. (For further details, including tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: Where AB InBev's physical meets digital.)

"It provides us a new channel to reach our consumer with all the data we've collected, using the intelligence that the digital space has to offer, with still reaching our consumer while they're walking down the street."

As digital screens of this type proliferate, the "physical web" – which could further extend outdoor connectivity via beacons, wearables and similar tech – can enable increasingly targeted ways to reach consumers at certain times and places.

The crossover of physical and digital is especially important for operators like AB InBev, as "we still need our consumers to go and buy our beer in the bar, in the grocery store, in the convenience store," said Jones.

One of its trial programs in this space leveraged "digital and static boards" in Atlanta, and employed geo-fencing to send a message to the smartphone of a consumer passing by, encouraging them towards buying its brands.

Such an approach, Jones revealed, was particularly effective in smaller markets where there was limited out-of-home messaging to compete for attention.

And when the company was able to customise its output "down to the creative, and what the message was to make sure that it was resonating, it drove impact in the market, regardless of the size".

Data sourced from Warc