July 12, 2024

FNB goes big with airport takeover

3 min read

Travellers moving through OR Tambo International recently will have noticed the installation of incredible hanging, glowing 3×3-metre cubes. Now, First National Bank and media partner EPIC Outdoor have rolled out this feat of branded engineering across Cape Town International and King Shaka airports, too.

Until now, double-volume areas in airports have been traditionally used for hanging banners. We might have become used to them, but in their day, these 3-metre promotional artworks were quite a thing.

“I see the future of airport advertising as moving away from the ‘wallpaper’ and becoming more bespoke, more tactical, strategic and interactive,” says Daniela Tommasi, EPIC Outdoor’s airport specialist.

“FNB was keen on an airport takeover in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban so we took the client to OR Tambo and suggested that while we could certainly do banners again, it was time for something bigger, more modern and more impactful. Something ‘epic’!”

The client agreed, and after brainstorming various solutions, EPIC Outdoor’s innovations team produced a unique 3D format that had never been seen before: enormous, glowing, hanging cubes, wrapped with FNB’s engaging messaging.

The next step? Assuring the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) that the safety mechanisms would tick all the boxes.

Designing the cubes

“The entire process, from creative brainstorming to installation, took six months. Most of those six months were spent developing the prototype. The engineering of the cubes, from both a functional and a safety perspective, is of the highest standards,” says Tommasi.

“The substructure had to be light enough to be suspended safely, but also strong enough to withstand the tension of the wrapping. A bespoke suspension solution had to be designed and tested for each airport. And to achieve the glow we wanted, we needed to perfectly position the lighting within the substructure – and convince ACSA that it would use minimal electricity.”

According to Debby Stuart, managing director of Circle Branding by Design, creative challenges and considerations included:

The cubes had to stand out in a busy airport environment. “We made use of emotionally compelling imagery, with bold colours and short text to capture attention,” she explains.

Developing messaging that resonated with travellers’ financial needs and aspirations: Each panel had to be carefully considered, taking into account the flow and direction of travellers walking past to ensure targeted messaging and the visibility of calls to action.

Tommasi says that once the cubes went up in OR Tambo, there was such hype and excitement that the other airports were keen to roll out their own installations. The takeover is now complete, with the installations at Cape Town International and King Shaka International in Durban.

Stage two ready for take-off

The Cape Town International installation has two sets of 2.5×2.5-metre cubes, each of which will rise into the air at each of the entrances/exits. “We’ve secured an insanely great position to totally saturate the entire airport. The FNB cubes at CTIA reflect into the glass of the terminal and at night, giving the illusion of floating,” says Tommasi. “Everyone – those entering or exiting Domestic and International Arrivals and Departures, and those congregating on the plaza, from passengers to their meeters and greeters – sees them.”  

King Shaka International’s installation has four 2x2m cubes installed at the two escalator banks that link the Arrivals and Departures levels. Positioned to maximise line of sight, they are visible to passengers and greeters ascending or descending between levels, as well as those on the lower level, moving to the retail stores, food courts and ATMs in the Banking Hall.

The epic success of squares in the air

“We’re thrilled that FNB let us run with this,” says Neil Vlaming, director of EPIC Outdoor. “We’re incredibly proud of the synergy this project demonstrates between our engineering expertise and creativity, not to mention Tommasi’s legendary knowledge about airport advertising. But most important is that the unique format and positioning we came up with has ticked all the boxes for our client in terms of furthering brand recognition and landing their messaging.”

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