Thursday, December 22

Advertising on ATMs

I always say that anything can be a marketing touchpoint.  A place where you can reach your target consumer with a branded message.  Anything, in theory, especially if it's within arms reach of our consumer.  Bathroom stalls, popcorn bags at the movie theater, shower curtains in the gym locker room, toll booths on the freeway, school buses, etc, etc.

Here's a new one that seems kind of obvious, actually.  ATM machines.  I'm not talking signage around the ATM, I'm talking the screen where you conduct the transactions.

It's an interesting thought, and perhaps a bit of a debate.  Right now the ATM transaction is funded by an ATM fee.  Imagine if you could watch an ad instead, and not have to pay the fee.  The advertising, in essence, would cover the transaction costs.

Would you mind?  It reminds me a bit of movie theater advertising back in the day.  When advertisers started playing commercials right before the movie, theater goers were kind of mad about it.  They almost felt like being at a movie theater was a private moment that shouldn't be interrupted with a commercial message.  Now, it's standard course.  As is product placement within the movie, many times over.

From a marketer's perspective, advertising during an ATM transaction a lot of sense.  There are millions of ATM transactions a day.  It's geo-targeted with a captive audience.

From the bank's perspective, it's a revenue generator at a time when many are struggling.  Maybe the smart ones, the ones that are profitable, could give the ad revenue to charity.  Now there's an idea.

From the consumer's perspective it's a value-add because there's a direct and tangible cost savings.  Its also steeped in emotion because most people hate ATM fees.  Most think they are way too much and way too annoying.  Plus, maybe you might just learn something from the advertising ... who knows!

It's not that different, really, then watching a commercial at the beginning of an online video.  Still annoying, yes, but often entertaining in and of itself.  And as I said, this idea has a direct cost savings.

I think it's a good idea all around, except when there's a long line and you have to stand through a commercial.  What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU


  1. It would be great for banks to find a solution for ATM fees. I seek out ATMs where I have my account specifically to avoid the fees. But I also don't want to have to spend any more time than necessary at the ATM machine. An ATM is supposed to be a convenience. For the most part people use it because you can go after hours and conduct most basic bank services. I think by making people spend more time at the ATM, the bank is defeating the purpose of the service. Plus this is an industry that really can't afford to added negative perception by its consumers.

    if this is something that actually happens, the spots should be no longer than 10 - 15 seconds.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family, Jim!