Department of Marketing

Surprise, Surprise. Ambient Media as Promotion Tool for Retailers

Ambient media evokes surprise with the aim of gaining the attention of consumers who are overexposed to traditional types of advertising. No study has yet considered the effects of unanticipated ambient media. To bridge this gap, the present article reports a field experiment entailing the manipulation of three types of ambient media that create different levels of surprise. The analysis combines observation data for 2,464 passersby, survey data from 305 respondents, and sales figures for 730 days. Triangulation was used to interpret the data jointly. The results show that surprising ambient media draw attention, promote positive attitudes towards the ad, and word of mouth. Most importantly, ambient media increases purchase intention and sales revenue. Robustness checks ensure that the model is stable across several conditions, such as time of day or weather conditions. The paper provides guidance for companies wishing to design surprising ambient media that improve consumer attitudes and profitability.

Hutter, K.; Hoffmann, S. (2014). Surprise, Surprise. Ambient Media as Promotion Tool for Retailers, Journal of Retailing, 90 (1), 93-110.