Category: Advertising Venues

VACANT NEW YORK: THE SLOW DEATH OF AN INDEPENDENT CITY

The last few years bear witness to the continued good economic fortune of New York: from the well-tended foliage at Madison Square Park to the throngs of tourists visiting the Williamsburg waterfront, the city remains not only a destination for culture, but for consumption.

So why, then, are the traditional retail corridors blighted with empty storefronts and red “FOR RENT” signs?

Economist Tim Wu, in a 2015 New Yorker article, speculates that many of these unfilled vacancies can be attributed to landlord greed: why lease your space to a mom-and-pop shop when you can hold out for the big bucks corporate retailers – like Duane Reade and Citi Bank – are willing to pay?

This tendency seems to be exacerbated in areas with landlords who hold mini-monopolies: dropping the price on a single storefront may cause the prices on nearby locations to fall. As Wu notes, “That suggests waiting for Marc Jacobs instead of renting to Jane Jacobs”.

That remark proved uncanny: In May of 2017, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman released a special report entitled Bleaker on Bleecker: A Snapshot of High-Rent Blight in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. The report detailed the unusually high retail vacancy rates along Bleecker Street between 6th and 8th Avenues: 18.44% of retail spaces (or 26 of 141 shops) were vacant in the spring of 2017.

Vacant Storefront

Film Center Cafe, 9th Avenue, NY (1933-2011)

Hoylman’s figure is astonishingly high (The New York Times cites 5% as the standard commercial vacancy rate associated with middle-class metropolitan areas) – and is even more extraordinary given the neighborhood’s reputation as a high-end retail destination. It seems that even Marc Jacobs has priced himself out – in the past two years, the company has shuttered five of its six retail locations along Bleecker.

Though Jacob’s team remains quiet on the brand’s exit from the neighborhood, the turnover rate of merchants is high, a symptom of what Wu termed “high-rent blight”, a phenomenon unique to upscale (and rapidly gentrifying) neighborhoods. On Curbed, writer Emily Nonko summed up the situation nicely: “High-end companies pushed out longtime, diverse businesses that called Bleecker Street home, and when the newcomers couldn’t get enough traffic to justify the sky-high rents, they shuttered and left the block empty”.

Unfortunately, this affliction has spread throughout the city.  In early June, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced that Broadway, historically a prime retail corridor, currently features 188 empty and/or vacant storefronts. Fifth Avenue, another destination for high-end fashions and furnishings, saw vacancy rates increase year over year: according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield,  the vacancy rate for 5th Avenue between 49th and 60th Street was 17.4% in the first quarter of 2017; the stretch of 5th Avenue between 42nd and 49th boasted a vacancy rate of 32.8%.

These vacancies are pervasive enough to inspire Vacant New York, a website run by one man intent on mapping all available storefronts in the city.

So why does this matter?

It’s discouraging to see beloved neighborhood establishments shutter their doors, only to be replaced by corporate chains. This erosion of local character makes the city less vibrant and diverse… and now that we’ve reached the point that the chains have priced themselves out, it’s time to reevaluate the way we approach local businesses.

Independently owned stores, cafes, salons and other small businesses are PMD’s business. We exist because our clients get SEEN in these windows; our outdoor advertising network is comprised of these same indie storefronts.

When our network partners move, close, or just disappear, we notice. And you should, too! Small businesses attract foot traffic, create jobs, and bolster neighborhood economies: 68% of money spent at independent businesses is funneled back into the local economy, compared to only 43% via big box chain stores. Most of all, they foster a sense of place and community – an invaluable service that neither Starbucks nor CVS can provide.

 

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING WITH DIRECT R.O.I.

Targeted Outdoor Advertising

Over the years, we’ve come up with a few methods to demonstrate the real R.O.I. associated with WindowPoster™ displays – our favorite outdoor advertising media. Most recently, our Digital Integration capabilities have allowed us to collect data that underscores the impact our displays have on boosting ticket sales and raising awareness of events and institutions.This summer, we installed 350 WindowPoster™ displays in tandem with a digital campaign to promote Hansel & Gretel, an interactive exhibit at New York’s famed Park Avenue Armory. In addition to generating tens of thousands of dollars in direct Return On Ad Spend, the data from the digital campaign revealed just how effective our OOH efforts are:

Neighborhoods with WindowPoster™ displays composed 7 of the Top 10 performing neighborhoods in terms of conversion volume.

And those other 3 neighborhoods? They’re areas directly adjacent to neighborhoods where WindowPoster™ displays went up.

10,000 STEPS FOR YOUR HEALTH & BRAND WEALTH

WindowPoster Storefront

As memories of June Gloom fade, replaced by the sizzle of sun-bleached sidewalks and sangria-soaked afternoons, we’re excited to slow down and enjoy American cities by foot.

We’ve been told over and over that walking 10,000 steps a day is the key to better physical and mental wellness – and, as an informal survey of the streets of downtown Manhattan indicates, we’re not alone in taking this advice.

Walking isn’t just good for our hearts and waistlines – it’s great for selling your brand.

As marketers, we can’t help but notice the recent uptick in pedestrian traffic. More people on the street means more opportunities to connect your brand and message with consumers.

If the key to a successful advertising campaign is capturing attention with multiple touch-points, the first step towards reaching your desired audience is getting your message SEEN in places where people live, work, and play … and what better way to do so than by placing your ads in storefront windows and on their mobile devices?

WILDPOSTINGS: WHERE DO YOU STAND?

They go up as buildings go down. They line walkways and adorn construction sites. We know you’ve seen them – because they’re everywhere.

Wildposting – or “poster sniping” in Out-of-Home lingo, exists in almost every urban center. Wildposting is a part of a fly-by-night, grey economy that specializes in ephemeral advertising:  hand bills and wheat-pasted one sheets that go up with the knowledge that the ads may very well come down just days – or hours – after they are posted.

The ubiquity of wildpostings has led many of our clients to ask us whether they’re worth it. We’re biased, of course, but at the end of the day, we’re poster people… so here’s our guide to evaluating whether wildpostings will work for you.

Wildpostings NYC

A few things to consider:

What kind of impact do you want to make?

The major benefit of classic, wheat-pasted wildpostings is repetition: the quintessential wildposting features a series of the same image (or a series of alternating, coordinated images) in a row, generally covering the walls of construction sites, abandoned buildings, or, unfortunately, in some cases, commissioned public art murals.

The reiteration of a series of images lends itself to emblazoning a particular image or message on the minds of passerby. But then to make an impact, your image or message has to particularly resonate. A major downside of repetitive wildpostings, especially in visually chaotic urban centers, is the tendency of these wheat-pasted displays to recede into the streetscape, becoming a backdrop to city life rather than a focal point.

Which brings us to quality.

How much do you care about it?

The practice of poster sniping is frequently associated with street artists and graffiti for a reason: what goes up usually comes down… or gets covered by something else.

Perhaps the biggest con of wildpostings is their short life span: wheat-pasted posters that are not removed by local authorities suffer from damage both from the elements and the whims of free-wheeling locals.  If you live in New York City, we’re certain you’ve seen a, erm, phallic image scrawled across an otherwise PG-rated street-side wildposting at least once (if not a few times a day).

If you’re looking to max out an extremely tight budget, wildpostings seem like the obvious solution: as many highly profitable wildposting companies will tell you, low-quality paper and wheat-paste cost pennies on the dollar. For volunteer-run campaigns, DIY wildposting is the perfect option.

Wildpostings NYC

On the flip side – to mount a campaign with broad reach and sustained duration, wildposting services are not cheap – especially given the limited duration of sniping campaigns.

While these companies are paid to make sure a certain number of flyers or posters go up, they do not maintain or replace the inevitably lost or damaged papers – so a budget of thousands to cover posting only ensures a brief moment of visibility.

Wildpostings NYC

This poor wildposting could use some TLC.

Finally: Are you willing to take a risk?

Because poster sniping companies typically do not possess their own inventory networks, clients may have limited ability to control where their message appears. Firms that specialize in poster sniping also generally do not compensate property owners for posting or for the damage these posts can cause (and, in some cases, these firms also neglect to compensate their contractors).

If you’re looking to mount a quick and dirty campaign, mix up some glue and get your staple gun ready: wildposting just might work for you! Otherwise, our recommendation is – as always – to diversify your media mix as much as budget allows. We’re biased, but these days, the integration of print and digital seems like a no-brainer for driving ROAS

STAND OUT & BE SEEN

Looking for a way to make your campaign stand out? The first place to start is the ad itself. Effective outdoor advertisements feature bold graphics, creative artwork, and minimal text.

One of our favorite examples is the campaign we ran for the Golden State Warriors: the vibrant, saturated colors and striking image of NBA MVP Steph Curry make this a memorable, eye-catching ad.

For years, the Warriors were regarded as one of the league’s perpetually abysmal teams. In 2014, though, things heated up: the Warriors completed the season with a 67-15 record… and won the NBA Championship the next year. They’ve become one of the league’s most entertaining teams to watch, known for their players’ ability to sink three-point shots from virtually across the court.

To drive ticket sales and garner even more support from the Bay Area community, the Warriors launched a local, multi-channel media campaign promoting the coming season. PMD Media placed 500 WindowPoster™ displays strategically across the Bay Area to reach consumers at the shops and small businesses they frequent.

While the Golden State Warriors campaign succeeded in generating ticket sales and creating buzz for the upcoming season, it also inspired pride in the Bay Area and its surrounding communities. Our WindowPoster™ displays have been proven time and again to effectively generate revenue and increase brand awareness – but in this case, they also provided the unexpected benefit of mobilizing local passions… We’d like to think this enthusiasm helped to buoy the team into their Championship victory. Go Warriors!

poster advertising san francisco

PMD PROMOTION IN PENN QUARTER, SILVER LAKE AND THE SOUTH END

Penn Quarter has undergone multiple personality changes since it’s earliest function as a commercial corridor, linking the farm country to Washington’s Central Market in the early 1800’s. The neighborhood continues to grow and change to this day, moving from urban decay and chain restaurants to an area full of quirky galleries, specialty high-end restaurants and trendy boutiques.

ADVERTISING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

PMD Promotion began advertising in Washington D.C. in 2005. Today, we have over 1400 active venues displaying Windowposter™ Ads, in 29 distinct neighborhoods. We can put together a package to tightly focus on just a few areas, or blanket the entire city and surrounding towns.

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