Ambient media

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Ambient Media (or Ambient Marketing or Ambient Advertising ) is a marketing term and describes advertising media that are used as outdoor advertising in the direct living environment of their target group .


The term ambient media can be traced back to the Concord agency in Great Britain. It was created by the agency in 1995 to define a rapidly growing market sector that could not be classified in the classic forms of outdoor advertising. At the beginning of the historical development was the search for unusual events as a source of free reporting.


Hutter / Hoffmann (2011) define ambient marketing as "placing advertising in places where it is not to be expected, including the environment in the advertising measure."

The most frequently used definition comes from w & p Marketing GmbH from 1999 and is:

Ambient media are media formats that can be consumed in the out-of-home area of ​​the target group in a predictable manner.

This definition contains three key terms:

The term ambience here describes the specific areas of life in which the target group lives or the atmosphere that surrounds these areas. After the target group had become increasingly difficult to reach via the standard channels of print , TV , radio and posters , ambient media found its way into their direct living space. This includes the subway as well as the supermarket, the pub or the cleaning.
With the assignment to the out-of-home area, ambient media is differentiated from forms of communication such as telephone sales , door-to-door sales and new media. The penetration into the intimate sphere of the target group develops different forms than the placement of almost classic media in public space (pub, subway, taxi advertising etc.). Advertising materials that enter private households “from outside” are becoming increasingly popular. The first contact between the medium and the target group takes place out-of-home, but the real effect occurs at home. An example of this are the clothes hangers used in textile cleaning, which can be equipped with advertising and product samples in a wide variety of ways, or advertising on pizza boxes .
Approaches to evaluation and planning have to look different in ambient media than in the classic area. Categories such as the thousand contact price (CPM) are tailored to mass media and not applicable to this media. An important parameter is the homogeneity of the target group, i.e. the significantly reduced wastage compared to other media. In principle, ambient media can also be planned and repeated, which sets it apart from sensation marketing .


Examples of ambient media formats are free postcards that are laid out in the catering industry, advertising on pizza boxes, pump nozzles at gas stations, toilet posters that are displayed in the sanitary rooms of pubs and discos, or posters that e.g. B. are installed in schools or universities. Newer forms are e.g. B. Advertising tables in gastronomy (Mediatable), large screens in subways (Infoscreens) or in universities (UniScreens); Advertising postcards that are selectively distributed to parked cars, college pads or mobile outdoor advertising media (Mobil Sky Board). Especially z. B. Locker or shower posters in fitness studios are increasingly included in media planning, as this target group can be narrowed down much more closely.

A frequently used stylistic device is gigantism (and also minimalism), in which exceptionally large (or very small) elements are supposed to surprise passers-by.

An important criterion for ambient media is therefore not specific formats, but rather the positioning of the advertising medium in the locations suitable for the target group. The thousand contact price (CPM) for ambient media formats is often higher than that of classic advertising media, on the other hand, the wastage is significantly below the comparative values ​​of classic advertising campaigns. The main focus is on the quality, not the quantity of contacts.

The form of advertising is mostly subject to the legal provisions of the respective federal states. In principle, every entrepreneur is allowed to advertise his products. However, building rights and rights of way usually restrict creativity. Outdoor advertising systems are "all fixed facilities that serve to announce or advertise or indicate a trade or profession and are visible from the public traffic area. This includes in particular pictures, lettering, paintings, illuminated advertisements, showcases as well as columns, boards and surfaces intended for note and sheet posts or illuminated advertising ”. A permit for the attachment or installation can be obtained from the responsible building supervisor.

Ambient Media Association

The Fachverband Ambient Media eV (FAM), founded in 2001, is a non-profit association with currently 36 members and its headquarters in Cologne.

The aim of the professional association is to position ambient media as an innovative, competitive and intermedia comparable basic medium. This includes, above all, the strengthening of the market position of Ambient Media in the inter-media competition, among other things through scientific market and opinion research in the field of advertising as well as the implementation of its own and to support others suitable PR and marketing activities.

In 2003, the Ambient Media trade association awarded its newly created seal of quality for the first time. The seal certifies that the FAM member carries out his orders properly. The checked performance data include, for example, circulation figures, location lists, proof of distribution and removal reports. The ambient media are assessed once a year according to the relevant criteria.


  • Carola Theresa Westermeier: Ambient Media: A detailed consideration , Vdm Verlag Dr. Müller, ISBN 978-3639042764
  • Katrin Hoffmann: Ambient Media: Systematization, Plannability and Evaluation , Diplomica Verlag , ISBN 978-3836651103
  • Kolja Wehleit: Guideline Ambient Media , Businessvillage Verlag, ISBN 978-3-934-42424-1
  • Esch, Franz-Rudolf ; Krieger, Kai Harald; Strödter, Kristina: Breaking through the familiar through below-the-line communication , in: Bruhn, M .; Esch, F.-R .; Langner, T. (Hg.) (2009): Handbook of Communication: Basics, innovative approaches, practical implementations , Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden, pp. 85-106.
  • Christian Wollscheid: Guerilla Marketing - Basics, Instruments and Examples , GRIN Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-640-66095-7 .
  • Hutter, Katharina; Hoffmann, Stefan: Guerrilla Marketing - a sober consideration of a much discussed form of advertising . In: der markt - International Journal of Marketing , 2011, 50th vol., No. 2, pp. 121–135.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hutter, Katharina; Hoffmann, Stefan: Guerrilla Marketing - a sober consideration of a much discussed form of advertising . In: der markt - International Journal of Marketing , 2011, 50th vol., No. 2, pp. 121–135.
  2. ^ Building regulations, Saxony-Anhalt . Building regulations of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  3. Outdoor advertising - guidelines and legal provisions ,, accessed on May 11, 2012.