Whether you are selling ad space or promoting a brand, you can create value by thinking a little differently. Here are examples illustrating three concepts to consider:
Ads From Above
Starting in the 1960s, a handful of intrepid advertisers started creating enormous billboards in the deserts of Australia and Chile, only visible to people flying overhead in airplanes. The advent of satellite imagery and (especially) Google Maps made this a slightly more popular strategy. Famously, Maxim put an enormous pinup cover of Eva Longloria in the Mojave Desert, and Target has placed their signature logo on the roofs of many of their buildings. Kentucky Fried Chicken has gotten in on the act, too.
Given the number of people that are, right this second, looking at close-range satellite imagery on a GPS navigator, it is surprising that more firms have not noticed this possibility. You don't need the Atacama desert: there are an awful lot of flat roofs in America. And there is a larger principle here: to paraphrase Yoga Berra, you want to put the ads where they ain't. Mapping software is full of ads already, competing for the user's attention. But having a physical logo on the roof of a building, that's novel.
Ads and Rhythm
Advertising lives in time as well as space. Ads on television, radio, or streaming services follow a certain predictable rhythm, and many consumers use that rhythm to go get a soda, and skip the ad. The whole pattern of exciting content interrupted by “a brief message from our sponsors” trains consumers to dislike the ads, and treat them as a waste of their time. But we can turn that on its head.
Advertising in restrooms and over urinals takes advantage not so much of space, but time. The guys are standing their anyway, facing a wall. Reading about your product is not an interruption.
Much better to place ads in situations where people are excited, and where the down-time is built in. Digital scorer tables for school sporting events offer a wide range of advertising options. These fall into the rhythm of an event, since (unlike a television show) the game has natural breaks. So you have a crowd of people who are pumped up, aren't going to resent an “interruption”, and are watching your ad on the big screen.
Companies do not usually profit directly from aftermarkets, and some luxury brands have taken extraordinary steps to restrict discounted sales of their products. But from another point of view, aftermarkets can be a marketing gift that keeps on giving. For instance, Levi has recently added web-linked information to the care tags on some of its products, encouraging people to donate them to Goodwill (and helping them locate the nearest Goodwill). This is good for the environment, sure, but it also ensures that the Levi's brand remains well-represented in second-hand stores. In fact, shoppers looking for a vintage or retro fashion ensemble may find the second-hand store context to be a plus for the product.
But maybe you aren't marketing a pair of rugged denim jeans. No problem: T-shirts and sweat shirts are a high-volume second-hand-store commodity, and buyers expect them to carry advertising. Indeed, a large chunk of the inventory of a second-hand store may be made up of promotional shirts that were carefully distributed to participants at some event (people who were probably already aware of the product). Why not send them directly to Goodwill? That was the tactic used by Norwegian culture jammer Liam Nilsen, who describes building a personal brand in part by distributing brand-new T-shirts with his image to second-hand stores.
In a similar vein, Pizza Hut in Hong Kong launched a box that can be converted into a projector for your smartphone. This turns an eminently disposable piece of packaging into an ongoing curiosity and, incidentally, an ad for Pizza Hut.