Westfield overhauls digital ad screens and focuses on mobile tech to drive sales

Westfield Smartscreen_Bonds

Scentre Group has unveiled its new network of advertising screens in its Westfield shopping centres as it looks to encourage brands to view them as tactical marketing opportunities.

The owners of Westfield handed the floor-based screens contract to in house agency Brandspace at the end of last year, ending its 10 year relationship with Ooh Media, adding to its protfolio of other internal media platforms across the Westfield portfolio, including the large format Digital Spectacular screens.

Asked about this decision general manager of Brandspace Bill Burton said: “We think we’ll be pretty good at it and we think there’s a strong demand from our advertisers. For a long time we got messages from the market ‘we just want to speak to Westfield about Westfield’.As part of the overhaul  of the Brandspace has meticulously placed 1,200 screens across 37 centres in tactical positions, with every screen fully digital which Burton said would allow “efficient media planning and buying and speed to market”.

The Westfield Smartscreen Network launched this month with advertisers including Optus, Disney, Foxtel, Samsung, Mazda and Bonds.



Burton also cited gaining control of the “ambience” of the centres as another reason for bringing the contract in house, with the panels tailored to their environment, with red branding in most centres and white in premium centres such as City of Sydney.

“Thirdly, one of many critical initiatives across this business is tooling up these beautiful centres to be ready for the 21st Century and how our shoppers and retailers want to engage in a digital age,” Burton added.

As a result, the screens already have near-field-communication (NFC) capabilities, QR code capabilities and Beacon technology.

“This allows us to really bring mobile into this environment and then work with our advertising partners about how the messaging we’re supplying becomes the start of a richer, deeper journey using mobile as that engagement platform once they leave the centre and continue that brand experience,” Burton said.

“Or really, something we’re very focused on, how to use those mobile technologies to drive sales in store.”

The screens are able to display a total of six ads, two of which will be internal Westfield marketing, running 10-second still and video ads Burton described as industry standard.

Advertisers are able to select from three packages – ‘specific’, ‘targeted’, or ‘broadcast’. The ‘specific’ package allows advertisers to pick specific signs in specific locations across the portfolio while the ‘targeted’ package allows them to target a specific retail zone or shopper journey.

WestfieldBut it is the ‘broadcast’ package which Burton said “is revolutionary to retail media”. It allows advertisers to achieve scale and reach across the country by essentially booking every second panel available.

“We’re working with several brands at the moment who have purchased both a broadcast pack to scream to the world about a new product release, but supported it with a targeted package telling the price and the key retail destinations,” said Burton.

Each location of the 1,200 screens across the 38 Westfield centres has been hand-picked to ensure they did not contribute to a sense of clutter within the retail environment or get in the way of busy shoppers.

“A really significant part of this undertaking was the placement strategy for each one of these units. Our head of sales for our business and our head of operations jointly walked each centimetre of each centre, that is 38 of them, three times in a national audit to literally hand-pick each location with the aim that we really want shoppers to see them but we don’t want them to get in the way,” said Burton.

“Then we have to engage with the centre management team, with the leasing teams in our business, with the design teams and the construction teams to make sure its falling within the bounds of all of the interest groups in our business.”

Managing the network is a team of eight people working from the national operations centre within the Westfield head office.

Miranda Ward


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