Welcome to The Moodie Davitt Report.
We dubbed the most recent issue of our new-look Moodie Davitt e-Zine ‘Travel retail’s sizzling summer’. That was no reference to the unusually sweltering conditions across much of Europe during July and August but to the way brands and retailers have cranked up their promotions to new levels far beyond the scale of anything that could have been contemplated even five years ago.
In today’s digital age, big is beautiful and bold is mandatory. Personalisation, engagement, excitement, interactivity, immersion and influencers are the buzzwords of our times. Few campaigns stop in-store. Most reach far, far beyond. And quickly. A vast external audience awaits and travel retail companies are proving increasingly adept at reaching them through the power of KOLs and the extraordinary and immediate reach that social media offers.
Until comparatively recently, brand launches tended to be the most high-profile stories on our website. Today it is the campaigns around those launches that garner most attention. Brands across any category you care to name are seizing on the universality of the travel retail channel, and leveraging its renowned ‘shop window’ appeal to a thrilling degree. Airport advertising too, seemingly so vulnerable to the digital age, has instead embraced it to dramatic effect. Look at the startlingly effective fashion in which JCDecaux has partnered with LVMH Group brands to exploit the largest interior digital media format ever seen at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) – a staggering near-72 metres by 40.8 metres platform. Brands brought to life on a thrilling global stage.
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When I travelled through Athens International Airport recently, Johnnie Walker had taken digital advertising above every check-in desk. Everything is about eyelines, whether on mobile platforms or via strategically positioned advertising points. As passengers exited security just before Dufry’s (impressive) walk-through duty free store, a giant digital billboard advertisement for Metaxa Greek brandy loomed overhead proclaiming ‘Don’t drink it, explore it.’ US beauty powerhouse Estée Lauder has believed in big airport communications for years. The company’s giant advertising signage by the side of the escalators in the heart of London Heathrow Airport’s retail zone is as impactful as anything you will find in the travel-related world. Or is it? Log onto Heathrow’s Wi-Fi and you’ll now discover Estée Lauder advertising. Whether the platform is big or small, the eyes have it.
Big, bold, beautiful at Hong Kong International Airport [Picture: JCDecaux].
Airports then are being seen as tapestries on which to weave stories, albeit with the very modern media tools of our time. This issue highlights the huge commercial power that the world’s leading airports command. But beneath their burgeoning retail and food & beverage businesses lies a growing and irresistible realisation that these remarkable crossroads of humanity are one of the world’s great communication as well as selling platforms.
It’s been a good few weeks for our own communication platforms too. Our website (www.MoodieDavittReport.com) smashed all previous travel retail B2B web traffic records in August, generating an all-time high 503,563 page views (a key indicator denoting the number of individual pages opened on a website).
I’d like to tell you that back in early 2003 when I launched the website I dared to dream it would attract half a million page views in a single month. But I didn’t. I might have settled for half a thousand, such was the low retailer and brand engagement with the web back then.
But I wasn’t deterred, knowing that the legacy print publishing model ultimately would not be able to withstand the disruptive power that digital media in general and the combination of the web and e-mail in particular would come to wield. I knew I could beat the postman’s delivery speed, even the courier’s. If I could provide the best content, and that was the area in which I was most confident, then I was in with more than a fledgling start-up’s chance. And so it came to pass. Whether it’s Heathrow’s B2C platforms or our own B2B ones, the game has changed. And it’s going to keep on doing so.