LOOK, YOU’RE A STAR!

The cranky caveman who sells insurance faces a rude surprise — advertising in place at the Las Vegas airport has the capability to make any primate a commercial star.

New indoor billboards at McCarran International Airport can capture images of travelers and project them into interactive scenes.

The billboards come from a company in Orlando, Fla., called Monster Media. The company is installing them in high-traffic public spaces across America in an attempt to create images capable of standing out from an increasingly cluttered advertising landscape.

The billboards at McCarran are among 100 Monster-built ads around Las Vegas, although not all of them use immersion technology.

The ones that do, however, are on the increase as Monster plans to install more in upcoming weeks. They stand out by making people moving through McCarran the centerpiece of the on-screen ad, just like the caveman on the moving airport sidewalk in television ads for Geico insurance.

“When you walk by, all of a sudden you see yourself in the ad,” said Monster CEO Chris Beauchamp. “You can actually interact with the advertisement.”

The company was founded in late 2001 and started marketing interactive advertising in 2004.

It has about 30 employees in Orlando and its ads reach more than 50 million fans in nearly 30 major league, professional basketball and hockey markets. It also sells advertising space in mass transit systems in Chicago and New York City.

Monster’s immersion ads use cameras to insert passersby into the display, where they can interact with the content. Projection interactive ads, some of which are in place at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, use motion sensing technology to make projected images react to nearby people.

The new Monster ads are in the C concourse beyond passenger security checkpoints. There are plans for similar ads in the airport’s other concourses.

They are part of a buffet of commercial messages at the Las Vegas airport placed through a company called Alliance Airport Advertising, which gets a 15 percent cut of the revenue, with the rest going to the Clark County Department of Aviation.

Alliance ads generated $11.5 million for the airport during the last fiscal year and will generate about $13.6 million in current fiscal year, said Shauna Forsythe, president of the advertising firm.

There are plans for up to five Monster displays at McCarran. Three will be projection-based and two will use liquid crystal display monitors. All five will be immersion capable, Forsythe said.

The displays in place now advertise TravelZoo, a Web site that offers discount travel deals.

But they could be used to advertise virtually anything, Forsythe said.

And because there’s no limit to how frequently the message can change, the displays are much more flexible than a static billboard.

“Let’s say one of the hotels bought it and they had seven restaurants; they could do all seven,” said Forsythe, who said space on the display runs about $10,000 per month. “And with interactive you could put your hand into the picture and pick up a piece of steak or lift a wine glass.”

Interactive and immersion billboards are a logical step in the evolution of advertising because advertisers are competing with each other to stand out.

“Within the advertising world there is a lot of clutter out there,” Forsythe said. “We look for those things that can cut through the clutter.”

It only makes sense that as digital technology advances advertisers would incorporate it into their efforts to reach consumers, she said.

“Whether it is your computer or your cell phone or a sign, once the designers get a hold of it you can do so much with it,” Forsythe said.

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