One Stop Shopping-Gas Stations Sell Insurance?

One Stop Shopping–Gas Stations Sell Insurance?

By Meg Weber

When most people think of outdoor advertising, it may be bill boards, or baseball stadiums. A developing outlet may be at your local gas station with "narrow casting" at the pump.

Some of the leading providers of the equipment and programming are: PumpTop TV, FuelCast, Octane Media Group, and GSTV.

What's the consumer experience? Instead of washing windows or watching the digits rise on a fuel purchase, they watch a mix of television (ABC, NBC, ESPN) news, local weather, and advertising on a 17-inch screen atop the gas pump. Gas pump advertising is available in most western states and major metropolitan markets in the United States and Canada. Penetration has been slower in the northern latitudes, but when the temperature is below zero, that's when people really need entertainment! The average segment is 4.5 minutes long and may include local ads (the car wash), convenience store merchandise, movie trailers, and even insurance (Allstate and State Farm).

It is the most captive of captive audiences. No trips to the refrigerator. No TiVo. And no changing channels.

Is it a distraction to high gas prices? Is it too intrusive and if so, could it backfire on advertisers? Is it too costly?

Broadcast television advertising revenues have been flat over the past few years as advertisers reach out to non traditional markets. Gas stations provide the largest "out-of-home" digital media network. A station may reach 40,000 motorists per month. The advertising at the pump reaches a broader profile than airport advertising, but more focused than network television.

While customers are captive, the television at the pump usually provides the best alternative for the fuel time moment. A movie trailer for the next Bourne movie, or even the weather, beats most options.

For the gas stations, there is no cost and it is usually a turn key operation once installed. Advertisers pay. The question is, will the providers survive the start-up costs to make money over the long term? The answer is probably yes as large contracts with suppliers and providers narrow down the options to standard features.

If it hasn't come to your neighborhood, it probably will soon (unless you live in Oregon where state law prevents you from pumping your own gas.)