HDTV Gets Consumers Pumped Up

Discussion
Jun 07, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Five hundred gas stations around the U.S. will soon be going into the entertainment business. Gas Station TV said it would provide the stations with high-definition television screens at the pumps displaying broadcasts of news and traffic reports.


The new point-of-purchase (POP) media continues the trend of trying to reach consumers at the moment of the buying decision. As the number of consumers watching network television has continued to decline, marketers have increasingly turned to alternative delivery methods to reach target consumers.


A significant development for Gas Station TV is the announcement that Murphy Oil would use the service at 500 of its 900 stations located in the parking lot of Wal-Mart stores.


Programming for Gas Station TV will include news segments from ABC broadcast on 20-inch high definition screens. ABC will also sell advertising for Gas Station TV, as well.


Moderator’s Comment: What do you see as the pluses and minuses associated with televisions located at gas pumps?
George Anderson – Moderator

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13 Comments on "HDTV Gets Consumers Pumped Up"


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Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

This might attract some early advertisers who forever live in hope but from a consumer perspective I can’t see any up-side at all. Yes, filling a tank is a boring occupation and I know your bigger cars take longer than my dinky little one but how much more annoying would it be to either be accosted by yet more ads or just catch the beginning/end of an interesting news story that you can probably hear in full on the radio when you climb back aboard anyway? Although admittedly being a full-fledged member of Grumpy Old Women Inc, I wouldn’t like to either have TV in my face at the pump or be hanging around waiting for someone in front of me to get over it.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

Just re-read the comments and have realised that this is what you French haters wouldn’t want to acknowledge – it’s call a fait accompli. We WILL have HDTV and more ads whether we want to watch them or not. We can CHOOSE not to watch them but it will be very difficult to choose a gas station without a television at every pump. I haven’t seen or heard of the places Kai mentions in Europe, certainly no mention of them in the trade or national press over here and no sign of them anywhere that I’ve ever driven or heard about from friends. But if he tells me where they are, I’ll make sure to keep away.

Kai Clarke
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

This is a concept which is already being done both here and in Europe. The commercials are played to a captive audience, and often “follow” the end user from their car into the gas station via screens located by the door as well as in the gas station itself. It has proven to be an effective medium, since it provides for a way to “spike” sales of impulse items.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

Some of us remember when Reader’s Digest introduced advertising to their pages, and then much later, movie theaters introduced advertising for more than popcorn and sodas. In the next few years, $300 billion of advertising revenue is expected to move into the retail space, in return for exposures to their audience. People waiting at the pump are an audience, no doubt about it. The success of HDTV at the pump is virtually guaranteed, IF the execution is right. It’s a big if. I recommend Erik Du Plessis’ “The Advertised Mind” for insight into how and why this is going to work.

David Livingston
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

This is already being done in my area. Customers are given the option of hitting the mute button which just about everyone does. This is very annoying; similar to telemarketing calls.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
14 years 8 months ago

HDTV sets at gas pumps! Will gas stations become the new entertainment capital of the world? I doubt it. Have you ever waited behind someone who piddles around wasting time at the pump while you wait to get gassed up? Many of us have. By adding a new detraction, the lines at the pump would probably increase.

If the TV sets don’t get watched, they will just be a nuisance. If the TVs are watched, they will cause slowdowns in the gas-filling process, create unguarded moments (and you know what that could mean) and a new phrase could arise — “Gas Station Rage” — despite Wal-Mart’s low priced gasoline – always.

Paul Sherman
Guest
Paul Sherman
14 years 8 months ago

When evaluating a digital media network deployment, I try to maintain perspective of the ‘balance’ of the final presentation.

Many (most!) of our retail environments were never afforded consideration for the presentation of this kind of media. We’re trying to make it fit into something that already exists.

Some companies ‘get it,’ and the placement of their screens and use of directional audio technology allow for sensible, effective use. Other companies ‘don’t get it,’ and their screens add to the clutter and commotion of an already over-stimulated environment.

Time will tell whether or not GSTV’s presentation of HDTV will achieve ‘balance.’

Bill Bishop
Guest
Bill Bishop
14 years 8 months ago

Someone once said beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it depends on expectations. There’s little question that there’s a real dead time when you’re pumping your own gas, and most of us would enjoy a relevant distraction.

That said, most retail-centered TV to date still looks/feels like it was designed more for the living room than viewing on the run.

Follow-up work to validate the findings of the NACS/Coca-Cola Leadership Council study on Convenience Teens has found that young shoppers are looking for more contemporary forms of communications from retailers, and TV at the pump just happens to be one of the executions that they really liked.

Perhaps the answer in the short term is to give viewers more control over whether they want to see the TV or not and if they do, what they’d like to view.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

Sorry Bill, but I can’t get past this image of a person at a gas pump channel surfing. Will this lead to recliners in the back of pickup trucks? Sure, teens might say that video images are great. In fact, it would be surprising if they didn’t given the strong role video imaging in all forms plays in their lives. But again. let’s get back to this issue of appropriate venue and — as you’ve correctly identified it — content. Now, just what do those kids want to see and hear? And, what about the issue of dueling messaging? Not only do teens like videos — they like them loud. So do we design gas stations for the hip-hop set; Bill O’Reilly fans (both of them); or people with more conventional taste? The idea of providing options implies time available to view those options and now all those grumpy middle aged folks we’ve heard from on this topic are really going to be going into cardiac arrest!

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
14 years 8 months ago

Plus: the opportunity to advertise something that’s on sale in the store, to bring an otherwise gas-only customer inside. Minus: not much time to make an impression, and the potential to annoy middle-aged geezers like me is high. I doubt this will do much for business, but I never thought airport TV, elevator TV, or bathroom TV would make it either.

Bernie Slome
Guest
Bernie Slome
14 years 8 months ago

This is the next step or leap into creating a customer experience and loyalty. Several smaller gas station/convenience stores in the Midwest have been working with kiosk systems. They have done this, providing proprietary programming, utilizing a wide variety of offers and have found that it increases loyalty among drivers, especially truckers. They have found that sales increased. Many went from 20% of gas purchasers who bought additional products to as high as 35%. It will be interesting to see how this impacts revenues and profits.

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 8 months ago

Most ad media innovation has maximum effectiveness when new. The first hundred spam e-mails were a lot more effective than the most recent hundred. The first five infomercials were more effective than the most recent five. Gas station TV, like the TV screens in supermarkets and airports, will be most effective the first few times someone sees it.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 8 months ago
Al clearly watches TV in more interesting places than I do, but I agree with him that the LAST place you want a screen is at a gas pump. You don’t have to be a geezer to figure out gas pumps aren’t the coolest places on earth to hang out, so why incent people to spend more time there? I know the theory is that you grab your exposures when and where you can, but as Al points out, there are limits to appropriateness. Who wants to think they’re going to be at a pump long enough to catch a news story? Of course, it may prove to be popular with those guys who spend their time hanging around gas stations begging for spare change. There is also a safety issue: do you want people paying attention to what they are doing, or watching TV? Finally, as a Detroiter, I can tell you most people who are fueling up, especially at night, are too busy watching their fellow customers to pay much attention to the… Read more »
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