Grand Rapids Airport Reworks Ads to Draw More Revenue

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A series of standalone signs near the baggage claim will be gone, and a row of static displays lining the walls to the concourses will be consolidated into one changing image board.

Less clutter and more visual impact is the aim for an overhaul of the advertising scheme at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, a redesign that also should generate more revenue.

"It gets a little distracting the way it looks now. Your eye gets drawn to too many things," said Christina Kennedy, project manager for Interspace Airport Advertising. "A lot of the visual clutter is going to be taken out."

Representatives from the Allentown, Pa., firm set up shop this week at the airport to display renderings of new ad products and sell space on 14 signs to be installed in June.

The current layout has 58 signs.

Many of the new signs scroll multiple advertisements in a single location, rotating as many as 10 separate images on displays six, eight and 10 feet wide. The new approach is one which airport officials and Interspace expect to maximize advertising impact by drawing more attention to the signs.

Interspace also will target a captive audience by looping commercials, both still and moving images, on the monitors at the airport's three baggage carousels. An existing telephone reservation center full of car rental and hotel ads will be moved into a more prominent position in the baggage claim area. And one 23-foot-long display will wrap part of the wall in the airport's main lobby.

Altogether, the 14 signs will have room for as many as 33 advertisers.

"These are exciting additions and changes," said Bruce Schedlbauer, airport spokesman. "We anticipate that it will be of interest to potential advertisers."

The airport, which attracts more than 2 million visitors per year, passed on Grand Rapids-based RB Business Image Services Inc. in favor of Interspace, which services advertising space in 156 mostly small and mid-sized U.S. airports, including Lansing, Minneapolis and Akron, Ohio, with about 200 terminals worldwide.

A five-year contract, which would extend another five years if certain sales levels are reached, guarantees the airport $600,000 and "there is a likelihood that the revenue would be greater," Schedlbauer said.

Under a current five-year deal with JCDecaux, the airport is guaranteed $78,000 annually with actual revenues of about $100,000 per year.

Decaux did not seek a renewal, Schedlbauer said.

Steelcase Inc., Crowne Plaza, X-Rite Corp., Grand Valley State University and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are among advertisers featured in the airport.

Interspace also plans to target primarily local advertisers to give visitors a taste of West Michigan and homecoming travelers a sense of comfort, Kennedy said.

"What we're creating here is a community showcase," she said. "It will create that sense of place."



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