Sight Lines

Maximising the media opportunity at New York LaGuardia

Alan Sullivan, Co-CEO at JCDecaux North America, talks about mirroring the “world class” design and experience at New York LaGuardia Terminal B in the media offer. By Dermot Davitt.

The opening of New York LaGuardia Airport Terminal B last month is a transformative project for aviation in the region, for consumers and for business partners of terminal developer Vantage Airport Group, which leads the LaGuardia Gateway Partners consortium.

The 850,000sq ft Arrivals & Departures Hall complex, which opened on 13 June, is part of a US$5.1 billion transformation that was initiated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The vision of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to create world class aviation infrastructure encompasses not just LaGuardia but all of the region’s airports.

As reported, there are many stand-out highlights. The emphasis on evoking the city itself comes through in the architectural and design finishes, and an eye-catching collection of public art installations commissioned for the terminal through a partnership with the Public Art Fund (see our Sense of Place feature in this edition).

The commercial zone on the fourth floor houses an eclectic blend of local, regional, national and international brands, all led by an unmistakeably New York flavour.

There is an emphasis on technology and smart processes, from security screening to ventilation, lighting and power use, dynamic signage and maps, plus mobile and contactless food ordering.

Alan Sullivan

All of that is complemented neatly by the media offer, led by a series of digital and large format sites, created, branded and developed by JCDecaux North America.

The company’s core programme, the iVision Digital Network, comprises 90 screens that reach all arriving and departing travellers. The programme allows brand partners to follow the guest throughout their journey through security, ticketing, arrivals and baggage claim (see panel for details).

A highlight is the Liberty Icon. At 30ft high and 25ft wide, it is the largest digital sign at LaGuardia, featuring a full-motion LED screen, ten-second ad spots and reaches 100% of departing passengers.

Two double-sided Terminal Towers span 35ft high by 11ft wide and reach all arriving and departing passengers, while the Branded Teardrops installation houses eight uniquely shaped canvases that engage all departing travellers.

The power of digital display on show at New York LaGuardia Airport Terminal B

JCDecaux North America Co-CEO Alan Sullivan says he is proud of what it now a signature project for the company in the US market.

“The Governor was determined to change the perception of LaGuardia, from what was once a subject of ridicule to something that will be a legacy of his guardianship. Terminal B is a milestone in the LaGuardia modernisation. It shows that if you can build something new rather than redeveloping, you have a blank canvas to work from and that offers a wonderful opportunity to create.

“It’s the first new airport in the US in the past 25 years but from the standard they have aimed for and achieved here, it’s clear that this is a superb airport in world terms, not just for North America. It’s the blueprint for other airports in New York & New Jersey, and sets a benchmark. We at JCDecaux have been charged with living up to those expectations in terms of quality and impact and we’re very pleased with what we have delivered, in partnership with the other stakeholders.”

As noted above, digital is the bedrock of the media offer. Sullivan says: “The principles are a combination of broadcast and impact, and we worked closely with the airport and the terminal’s architects to create that new environment.

“The media has to be sympathetic to the other elements there, including the public art programme. That comes from collaboration and planning that had to start before construction even began; our first conversations took place in 2015. You have to be involved as early as possible in the process to get the integration required between media, retail, dining and other services.”

This video outlines how inaugural brand partner Rimowa has taken advantage of the LaGuardia Terminal B opportunity

Knowing the audience and their requirements is also vital. Sullivan says: “The US business is obviously focused on domestic travel at the moment. Here, LaGuardia is well placed to take advantage so advertisers can exploit the offer in this incredible new terminal. When we talk to brands we can cite the strong business audience that is shuttling to Boston, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia and so on, and that well defined audience is attractive for many of them.”

As the images on this page show, lead partner Rimowa has benefited from the powerful visual showcase in the early weeks since opening.

JCDecaux is confident that other partners will come onboard as traffic builds, but unsurprisingly expectations for launch had to be tempered.

“With the wonderful visuals Rimowa has supplied, they have embraced the opportunity in a lovely, subtle way and we are delighted to have them. As passengers return we’ll be talking to the market,” says Sullivan.

Although some brands are reticent about returning, or simply cannot afford to, the visibility that airport advertising represents will remain compelling, he notes.

Full attention: The eye-catching Rimowa campaign spans JCDecaux sites right across the terminal

“If you have the means, now is the time that you will get a disproportionate benefit. You’ll have more of a share of attention compared to your competitors who have pressed the pause button. If opportunities come to market now that arguably have not done so for years, what an opportunity that is to stake your territory. The audience is still hugely valuable. Based on research we have done in the UK, it is ‘C-suite’ executive level managers who will return to flying first. The faster that happens, the better.

“There is an appetite for travel. Look at Dallas Fort Worth, with 100,000 passengers a day, most of them domestic. Ultimately we have to react to how the audience changes. But that is one beauty of digital: it offers you flexibility and dynamism. You can change message instantly to reflect the context of the moment. We are proving ourselves to be flexible in the current climate.”

A question of partnership

A key question for airport advertising concessionaires today is how relationships with airports will develop. As the crisis hit, the question quickly arose of how airports would pass on relief to their partners, and in turn how brands’ multi-million dollar exposure to premium advertising contracts would be treated.

Sullivan says: “It has been clear which airports put in place relief measures quickly and which are taking incremental steps, perhaps month by month. There are a very small number that are not taking any steps at all.

“We know that partners such as Dallas Fort Worth and Houston were among the first to respond positively and they have put in place measures that last into next year.

“But the crisis is now running deeper and longer than people first anticipated. As that happen those conversations are continuing. Airports have the benefit of the grants from the CARES Act through which they can assist their partners.

“Listening to the conversations around the world, we hear calls for more innovation in how airports structure their commercial agreements. Some airports are open to those conversations, others perhaps less so. Everyone would benefit from a balanced commercial arrangement.

Another view of the JCDecaux/Rimowa campaign as travellers pass through the facility

“It’s too early to say whether this crisis will have an effect but we know that many airports are mindful of the short to mid-term challenges. And we also know that they want the partners who they entered the crisis with to still be there and well placed once we come out on the other side.”

With the crisis set to have a lasting impact, how optimistic should we be about the future of the travel business and with it, airport advertising and other related commercial channels?

Sullivan says: “It will depend on government policy, how travellers react and how airlines react, and no one factor will make all the difference, short of a vaccine.

“But I’m a natural optimist. I’m hugely passionate about the future for out-of-home in general. The innovation in digital, in new technology has served our industry very well. We have been able to reinvent ourselves and ensure we are relevant in today’s media landscape.

“The audience is also still very attractive and influential, and that will remain. There is an inherent desire for people to travel and explore. No matter what happens, there will be a need for face to face meetings. People buy people and there is no way to replace that.”

The New York LaGuardia Terminal B media programme in detail

  • The iVision programme, already at New York JFK, Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth airports, comes to LaGuardia through JCDecaux Airport.
  • The network consists of 88 screens with ten-second spots, reaching 100% arriving and departing passengers. iVisions can be bought to have full coverage of the airport or separately in the company’s TSA and Baggage Claim Networks.
  • The TSA programme consists of seven 100-inch screens, ten-second spots, reaching 100% of departing passengers.
  • The baggage claim network contains 18 faces of 85-inch iVisions, ten-second spots, reaching 100% of arriving passengers.
  • Liberty Icon is the largest digital sign at LaGuardia. It spans at 30x25 ft with a full-motion LED screen and ten-second spots, reaching 100% of departing passengers.
  • Branded Teardrops consist of eight canvases and reach 100% of departing passengers. These can be purchased by a sole advertiser to dominate the ticketing area.
  • Two double-sided Terminal Towers span 35x11 ft and reach 100% of arriving and departing passengers. These pair of static skyscrapers can be purchased by a sole advertiser.

Partner's message


The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 281 | 16 July 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

Share this article: