DIA Seeking OK to Place Advertising on Security Bins

May 22, 2007
Under pilot plan, airports sell space to advertisers

Travelers at Denver International Airport might eventually see more than their shoes, cell phones and keys at the bottom of the plastic bins used at security checkpoints.

DIA is applying for approval to participate in a pilot program that allows companies to place advertisements on those bins, which carry passengers' belongings through security X-ray machines.

"We're going to apply, but that's about all I can say at this point," said Steven Snyder, a spokesman for DIA. "There are a few ideas we're going to look at. The program is intriguing."

Under the program, participating airports can strike deals with companies that want to run ads glued inside security tubs. In return, advertisers pay for new bins, security tables and carts, and airports take a share of the profits the ads generate.

"As long as we can deliver security we are comfortable with private-sector innovation," said Carrie Harmon, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees and developed program guidelines.

The agency launched the idea last summer at Los Angeles International Airport before deciding to unroll it on a wider basis. Airports have until the end of May to apply for approval for one-year agreements that begin in June. Those that participate must cement their own agreements with advertisers.

Some industry watchers are skeptical about the idea, citing the pervasiveness of ads and the nature of security screening.

"As a marketer, do you want your ad in an environment where people want to rush through, where they don't want to spend time?" said Henry Harteveldt, a vice president at Forrester Research, which compiles data for several industries, including airlines. "Then, of course, the ad is going to be covered with belongings. The other question is do we really want to turn airport security into another commercial environment?"

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