Innovation Sighting: Task Unification at Airports

Innovation Suite 2009
June 23, 2009
The LAB: Innovating Shredded Wheat with S.I.T. (July 2009)
July 5, 2009

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification at Airports

Placing advertisements on objects such as billboards and taxis is nothing new. But here is a new twist using task unification. It is one of five templates in the corporate innovation method called S.I.T. Task Unification assigns an additional "job" to an existing resource. Here is an example as reported in USA Today:

Placing advertisements on objects such as billboards and taxis is nothing new.  But here is a new twist using task unification.  It is one of five templates in the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.  Task Unification assigns an additional “job” to an existing resource.   Here is an example as reported in USA Today:


“Airport advertisers are after travelers’ last idle moments: waiting for luggage at baggage claims.  Eager to generate more non-aviation revenue, airports including Kansas City, Seattle-Tacoma and Omaha Eppley are placing advertising on baggage carousels. At least 13 others have similar plans, including Atlanta; Philadelphia; Boston Logan; Huntsville, Ala.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Wichita; Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.; Albany, N.Y.; and Milwaukee Mitchell.  “They’re a captive audience, waiting 15 minutes or so for bags to arrive,” says Zack Clark of DoubleTake Marketing, which designs and installs ads. “It brings some color and revenue to the airport.”  The ads are large adhesive banners placed on the moving portion of the baggage carousel. For carousels that have a series of metal plates that collapse on each other, DoubleTake applies an adhesive graphic to each plate to compose one large banner. Ads range from 20 feet wide to an entire belt.  It’s the latest airport advertising initiative targeting a demographic considered wealthy, young and cosmopolitan. Non-aviation revenue makes up about half of U.S. airports’ operating revenues, according to Airports Council International-North America.  Some airports have removed public art for advertising, while others have considered placing ads on land adjacent to runways. Advertising can be found on electrical outlet stations near gates, boarding passes printed at home and trays used to place jackets and laptops at security checkpoints.”
Even more creative is to fuse the marketing message with the medium.  Fusion reinforces the message by connecting attributes of the medium to attributes of the message.  The trick is to fuse messages that are most salient to what people are thinking or feeling at that exact moment – the moment of highest receptivity.

What would make for clever advertising on an airport luggage carousel as people wait for fifteen minutes for their luggage?  How about these:

  • New Luggage (“Worn Out?  Visit www.luggage.com”)
  • Travel Services (“Next trip, save with Orbitz”)
  • Personal Security (“Protect Your Good Name with Lifelock”)
  • Transportation (“Get their faster with B.A.R.T.”)
  • Realty Services (“Welcome Home”)
  • GPS Devices (“Garmin: Follow the Leader”)
  • Job Placement (“Monster:  Your calling is calling.”)
  • Candy (“Snickers: Gonna be here for awhile?”)
  • Organizing: (“Franklin Covey: We enable greatness.”)
  • Utilities: (“iPhone App:  Airport Flight Delays”)

How would you fuse a marketing message to an airport luggage carousel?