Super-Sized Suggestions

Partnering with Concessionaires/Service Providers

The “Super-Sized Suggestions” project was undertaken by SJC’s marketing team in cooperation with the airport’s concessions management group to support the concessionaires operating at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

These “giant props” depict some of the most popular items available for purchase in the shops, restaurants and/or bars at SJC. Not wanting to favor any one particular shop, the props are unbranded, instead focusing on the item itself rather than a specific purveyor who sells it. Each one carries a clever saying or pun. For example, the comically huge coffee cup simply states, “Morning has broken. This should fix it.”

Each “prop” is approximately 8 feet tall, and is constructed out of wood and/or steel frames, with exteriors constructed from foam core and plaster of paris.

Ultimately, five props were constructed: a stein of beer, a cup of coffee, a dish of berry-topped frozen yogurt, a shopping bag and a trashy novel titled “When Love Departs.”

The intended audience is any and all passengers traveling through SJC’s Terminal B, so the design and subject matter are intended for broad universal appeal.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

Our world is getting “noisier” all the time. Constantly bombarded by advertising messages everywhere we turn, it’s only human to tune out much of it. While the SJC concessions team wanted to create an on-site marketing program that would drive increased sales at airport concessions of all sorts, they didn’t want more posters, sign boards, or other marketing “noise” that would detract from the aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for which SJC is known. They also did not want a campaign that would rarely be noticed by passengers, anyway.

They wanted something that would cause travelers to stop. To take notice. And maybe think about their day in a slightly different way, perhaps leading to an unplanned purchase decision.

That’s how and why the SJC marketing team conceived of the idea of “Super-Sized Suggestions” – larger-than-life objects, scattered throughout SJC’s wide and open Terminal B, which would be fun and playful, while still triggering the desired change in purchasing patterns.

2. Production: 

The concept was spearheaded by SJC marketing and concessions staff. Designs for specific props were handled by an outside creative agency, and execution/construction of the props was awarded to a manufacturer based on a public bid process.

The manufacturer of the props also handled installation in the terminals, with the guidance of airport marketing and concessions team members.

Ongoing maintenance is provided by the same installation company.

3. Evaluation: 

Some have gone so far as to call the props “art,” and we tend to agree. But whatever you call them, they definitely have garnered the desired attention. Since the props were installed in early July of this year, hundreds of travelers have posed for silly selfies and family photos in front of the props – which means they’re not just noticing the advertising, they’re interacting with it, making it a part of their own world and voluntarily spreading the images across their social media networks.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the giant cup of coffee has been the clear favorite, with the giant frosty glass of beer not far behind. People seem to enjoy hugging both of them.

(See attached sample screen shots of a representative cross-section of Instagram posts about the props. See also the San Jose Mercury-News item referring to the props as art at the end of this article:

While we can only identify social media engagements from the limited number of people who tagged their photos as being within our airport, it is safe to say that hundreds of photos with the props have been posted on social networks, and “liked” thousands of times by the posters’ friends and family. They’re almost always accompanied by fun, silly comments and the sharer’s friends chiming in to add more snark or to just wish their friends a fun vacation.

Most important, sales at our concessions already reflect an increase. In July 2014, sales per enplaned passenger were $8.71. In July of this year – the month the props went up – that number climbed to $9.22, an increase of 5.9 percent. With no other major changes in the concessions offerings from 2014 to 2015, much of that increase can be attributed to the “Super-Sized Suggestions.”

We expect that trend to continue as additional data comes in.

The props will remain in place at least until December.

4. Budget: 

Budget for this project was $60,000 for the initial production and installation of the props. Ad agency fees for the creative design of the props totaled approximately $8,000.

A contractor has been retained for monthly refurbishments and repairs of the props as needed, with a budget of $10,000 allocated.