Category: PMD Clients

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.

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.

Over the years, we’ve come up with a few methods to demonstrate the real R.O.I. associated with WindowPoster™ displays. 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.

$31 BILLION ON THE TABLE

Updated September 27, 2017: To receive your copy of “Digital Advertising: Turbo Charge Your Traditional Media Spend” e-mail ds@pmd.media !

$31 Billion.

That’s the estimated amount of effective consumer spend that the U.S. ad industry leaves on the table annually by opting out of integrated, multi-platform campaigns.

Studies continue to show that multi-platform advertising increases the reach, ROI, and overall efficacy of any campaign. But did you know that integrating just one other media form into an outdoor campaign can increase ROI and consumer engagement by 60%?

[Upcoming: PMD White Paper – Guide to Maximizing Your Multi-Platform Campaign]

     

Adding digital to a campaign based on a traditional media platform like OOH produces a significant kicker effect (that magical 60%) that blows away the amplification effects of combining two or three forms of traditional media.


Keep your eyes on your inbox for the release up our upcoming White Paper on maximizing your multi-platform campaign

10,000 STEPS FOR YOUR HEALTH & BRAND WEALTH

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?

DO BIG AGENCIES HAVE AN IMAGINATION?

Don’t get us wrong, some of our closest friends occupy top positions at the biggest media agencies across the country. But last week, as we attended yet another meeting at one of the industry’s premier firms, we realized there’s a lot wrong with the big agency model.

It lead us to ask a very simple, but curious question: why do major clients – the Coca-Colas, Verizons, and Chase Banks of the world – keep bouncing from agency to agency?

The answer is simple but not so simple… these big agencies, in their relentless desire to maintain the status quo, lack the “secret sauce”, that special alchemy of risk and agility that can take an otherwise average campaign to the next level.

So how should they approach their media planning differently? Well, we’re glad you asked.

While the big guys are out buying billboard space, we’re on the street, looking for fresh ways to get our clients’ brands and messages directly in front of the customers they are looking to engage with. It’s so micro-targeted that we literally can’t miss.

Want to reach Spanish-speaking customers in NYC, LA, and Miami? We’ll post ads along the distribution routes of the top Spanish-language newspapers and get you front, center, and in their face.

Looking to get downloads for your fitness app? We’ll integrate digital contextual targeting to guarantee every cent of your outdoor media buy goes towards reaching the users that are 100% interested in fitness.

It’s methods like these that help us achieve ROI that often breaks the scale for clients. So, let us take a look at your plan, and take you from the status quo to a status of your own.

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.

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.

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.

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

A VERY HAIRY 62ND ANNUAL DRAMA DESK AWARDS

When The Park Avenue Armory decided to revive the classic Eugene O’Neill play The Hairy Ape with a fresh staging and all-star cast, they reached out to PMD Media to BE SEEN both online and outdoors throughout New York City.

In addition to installing over 350 WindowPoster™ Displays across Manhattan and Brooklyn, PMD also placed digital ads for The Hairy Ape on international websites including the New York Times, AOL, Spotify, and the Huffington Post in addition to theatre-focused sites like Broadway World, and Playbill.com.

Ultimately, the campaign’s initial spend generated a 1848% ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) … and between the WindowPoster™ displays and digital ads, we created over 4.7 million impressions.

Data collected throughout the campaign reflects the efficacy of PMD’s proprietary geofencing techniques: the digital campaign generated nearly 1,000 direct conversions, with the majority of those transactions coming from neighborhoods targeted with both Windowposter™ Displays as well as digital ads.

We’re ecstatic at the commercial success of The Hairy Ape WindowPoster™ digital integration campaign… but even more excited to congratulate the cast, crew, and staff at the Park Avenue Armory on their scintillating show!

In addition to receiving rave reviews from the New York Times and The Daily Beast, the show garnered an impressive eight Drama Desk Award nominations, including nods to lead Bobby Cannavale, director Richard Jones, and set designer Stewart Laing. 

We’re looking forward to the 62nd Annual Drama Desk Awards this Sunday, June 4th, and expect our good friends at the Park Avenue Armory to steal the show!

(bottom image via Carpe Diem! New York)

THIS IS GOOD DESIGN.

We’ve made a name for our clients in some of the most ad-saturated markets in the world. So when people ask how we compete with the neon lights of Times Square and the billboards that line Sunset Boulevard, we like to tell them that the first step is good design.

In the past, we’ve spoken about what an effectively designed poster looks like. Today, we’re revisiting that concept to shine the spotlight two of our current campaigns. Check out the latest creatives from the Chicago White Sox and the Brooklyn Museum:

These ads meet all the criteria of our Effective Design Rating scale. 

  1. They convey the message.
  2. They are visible from a distance.
  3. They succeed in attracting the intended audience.

The most striking characteristic of the Sox campaign is its simplicity – through the saturated colors and distinct graphic logo, the artwork speaks for itself.

On a street crowded with busy ads, the white lettering against the deep navy background pops; as viewers approach, evocative details – the fine stitching, the sturdy canvas of the baseball cap background – become apparent, conjuring, perhaps, memories of one’s own very first ball game, or a hat worn by a beloved relative.

Sometimes, too much information is worse than not enough. This ad is a perfect example of that truism… and it doesn’t hurt that the Sox complemented their WindowPoster™ campaign with a series of mini-pocket calendars that provide details on the season’s schedule.

We’re also advertising the phenomenal exhibit “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” running at the Brooklyn Museum. The above postcard designs maximize the medium’s limited space by mixing vibrant images with bold, minimal text, effectively communicating the most important information while retaining the impact of the artwork. 

                                                  

As you may know, at PMD Media our motto is BE SEEN – and while visibility counts, we know that where you’re seen and the message you broadcast matter, too. Whether it’s an album cover, a website layout, or a WindowPoster™ display, good design makes all the difference.

Please call or e-mail us today for a consultation on your campaign. We’re always excited to hear (and see!) what our friends are up to.

DIGITAL INTEGRATION CASE STUDY: HOW WE GENERATED AN 1870% ROAS

Don’t underestimate the impact a relatively small media buy can have.

Just as one key to a successful business in the “real” world is “location, location, location”, the same holds true in the digital sphere: where your ads are located make all the difference. Ads for women’s handbags may not perform well when hosted on a men’s body-building website… just as ads advertising an event in South Bend, Indiana probably won’t produce conversions if they appear on computer screens in Sulawesi, Indonesia. That’s where programmatic advertising comes into play: by targeting specific geographic and demographic contingents, programmatic advertising makes efficient use of your media budget.

For those new to the digital advertising sphere, this might all sound a little complicated – and expensive. The good news is that generating an impressive ROI doesn’t mean spending huge bucks. Plus, unlike other forms of advertising, digital advertising allows advertisers to immediately track engagement metrics, allowing you to observe direct results of your campaign – whether you’re looking to fulfill impressions, generate clicks, or create conversions.

We recently ran a campaign to promote ticket sales for the Chicago Open Air music festival… and the results were pretty spectacular.

To publicize the 2nd annual Chicago Open Air music festival, Live Nation and Danny Wimmer Presents enlisted PMD Media to BE SEEN in Chicago and the Chicagoland area.

In addition to a WindowPoster™ campaign targeting the north-western neighborhoods of Chicago, PMD launched a Digital Integration campaign to publicize the event.

With the client’s $3,900 budget, we purchased ads to serve a target audience based on both demographic and geographic characteristics. That initial investment ultimately led to over $72,000.00 in ticket sales.

By incorporating the hard data gleaned through pre-launch analysis with a series of monitored optimizations based on real-time audience engagement, PMD produced maximum results. In just a month, the digital campaign generated hundreds of ticket sales, ultimately producing an 1870% ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)… and, in tandem with the Windowposter™ flight, created over 4,400,000 unique impressions.  

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!

ANOTHER NY STORY: BROOKLYN STEEL

As a friend or client of PMD you may be familiar with our origins: way back in 1991, Dean Stallone started PMD Media from his NYU dorm room.

We’d like to take you back to the musty, carpeted halls of NYU’s Brittany dorm for a moment to introduce another character who’s been around since the beginning of PMD Media.

When Dean and George Eliou first met as freshmen in 1989 they were just young goofy kids. Twenty-eight years later, the two remain friends and colleagues.

Last night, George’s firm, Eliou & Scopelitis Steel Fabrication, in partnership with Bowery Presents, debuted their latest venture: Brooklyn Steel, a live music venue named for the red brick building’s original purpose as a steel works factory.

The East Williamsburg concert hall opened with a bang – LCD Soundsystem’s five night run sold out immediately – and promises a scintillating spring line-up, with future performances by indie rock superstars The Decemberists, Chairlift, Slow Dive, and lo-fi legends The Jesus and Mary Chain. We can’t wait to check out a show – and try one of the venue’s three (!) bars.

In celebration of the grand opening of Brooklyn Steel – and to thank George for his contributions to the New York performing arts scene –  we’re sending our best wishes to Eliou & Scopelitis Steel Fabrication and Bowery Presents!

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