A couple months ago, my brother and I were tasked with meeting my parents at the airport to drive them home after a trip to Italy. Since we arrived early, we immediately headed to the “cell phone lot” at O’Hare Airport. In this lot, cars are allowed to park for a limited time for free while waiting on the arrival of the flights of friends and family.
Upon entering the cell phone lot, we were greeted by a handful of people patiently waiting in their cars and a digital billboard glaring down at us. The billboard alternated between displaying flight arrival times and flashing advertisements promoting Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.
I have to say, I’m not usually a fan of traditional advertising become digitalized. I think digital billboards on the interstate are distracting and obnoxious, and digitalized bus-side advertisements have a certain way of burning my retinas. But for a captive audience like folks waiting to pick up friends and family from a trip, this isn’t such a bad idea.
Drivers feel like the billboards are benefitting them by providing flight arrival times…eliminating the need to hit redial a million times to find out how late Aunt Patty’s flight is running. And since they’re already staring up anyway, they’ll likely keep looking while an ad graces the giant board. Besides, there’s not much else to do in an airport parking lot (especially if you’re driving alone). Some drivers may even appreciate the billboards as a form of entertainment. My only complaint? The people responsible for this billboard seem to assume drivers are only parked in the lot for five minutes. We were in the parking lot for 20 minutes and we saw the same ad over and over. Mix it up a little, folks! I really think that including a number of different ads would make people even more inclined to keep watching.