Field Test: Are Promotions More Effective When They Follow You?

by omar daouk.

Have you ever tried promoting a show, an event, even a garage sale you’re holding with just posters that you blanket around? If so, you probably will agree it can’t be the most effective way to spread the message and get people’s attention. Just take a look at the wall of cluttered posters in our very own Newhouse School:

All the Cluttered posters at Newhouse

All the Cluttered posters at Newhouse



Let’s face it, the average person walking by this wall would not be likely to stop and look at the detailed information on almost any of these posters. Not even the one for our Advanced TV Production Capstone show titled “Spectrum” (yes, our poster is visible above, right in the center). So my question is, would having a poster put up on an interactive sensor-based wall be a more effective way of grabbing a passerby’s attention, and thus create a memory strong enough to get that consumer to take action? In the case of our TV production “Spectrum,” would having an interactive display of our promotions get more attention than a physical, printed poster thus creating better memory/recall of the production’s title and screening date and thus be more effective at getting that person to show up to our screening?

Luckily, with the help of one Lorne Covington, I was able to get our poster and short promotional video up and running on the wall. Here’s how it works: with nobody in front of the wall, you see thumbnail-sized images of our poster floating and bouncing around. But when you step in front of it, one large poster floats to you, and follows you as you walk down the hallway. When you point your arm towards the larger poster, our promotional video comes up and plays. Check out the video below to see it in action:

Spectrum on the iWall






Pretty cool, huh?

Now in terms of testing the question asked above, there unfortunately was not enough time between our promotions being published on the wall to our recent screening to conduct any test. That doesn’t mean there can’t be any tests done in the future.

So to answer the question previously mentioned we would be measuring three things: attention, memory, and effectiveness.


Does a poster that follows you as you walk down a hall get more of your attention than a static, physical poster that doesn’t follow you on a screen? To measure this I would have 2 groups, control and experimental. The control group would witness a poster printed on paper that is the same size as the poster that pops up on the interactive all when you pass by. It would be taped onto the interactive wall and placed in the center. The experimental group would experience the interactive promotions as seen above. We would collect responses to the question “did you notice a poster for a TRF production” at the end of the hallway after subjects passed by, alongside a few other attention-related measures.


Does a poster that follows you as you walk down a hall make the material promoted more memorable than a physical poster? We would use the same groups as in the attention test above, but measure memory through a series of basic psychological measures. We would test for memory of the show title, the tag-line, and the time and date of the premiere screening. It might also be interesting to a long-term study (one week after exposure) and compare the results.


Does a poster that follows you as you walk down a hall get you to take the action(s) intended by the promotional material in more cases than a physical poster that doesn’t follow you? Again, we would use the same two groups, control and experimental. But to measure how many people actually went to our screening based on their exposure to either the physical or interactive promotions, we would create a marker for those in each group, and then at the day of the screening, we would tally how many from each group actually showed up to the screening and compare results.

I predict that interactive displays of promotional materials will grab more attention from more consumers, will create stronger memory/recall of the content being promoted, and will get more consumers to take the actions intended by the poster. I hope somebody in the future will take this study on and publish their results!

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