Concordia Inks New Ad Deal

Up to 30 New Digital Screens in Bathrooms Across Campus

  • Concordia support staff installs a new advertisement in the university’s Hall Building. Photo Christopher Curtis

Expect more advertising on campus after Concordia signed a new ad contract in early September with a consortium of three firms.

While the number of backlit boards on campus—the main form of advertising until recently—will not change, the consortium will add new plasma screens around both campuses, digital ads in bathrooms and banners in high-traffic areas.

Composed of Montreal-based MU Media and UB Media, as well as a larger national firm, Rouge Media, each member of the ad consortium specializes in a different aspect of the contract.

Students seeing new backlit boards on campus shouldn’t worry about new ads, according to Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.

“The number hasn’t changed, but they may move some of them around,” she said of the 32 existing ads.

“Where there is a change is in the bathroom,” said Mota of 30 new digital ads. “It’s a small digital screen that is motion-sensor activated, so if no one is going through the bathroom the screen will be dark. Only when someone walks in front of it will the screen put up a message.”

According to UB Media, the 50 cm digital screens play HD video and are effective at “ensuring your message finds its way to the elusive young and active demographic, who watches less TV and skips more ads than ever.”

Not all students are happy about the new ads.

“The ads that are being displayed on campus and these new developments are symptomatic of the fact that the university is being underfunded by the government,” said Gonzalo Nieto, an executive at überculture.

“But the university’s solution to make more money is to exploit the students who are already paying to attend the university.”

While ads in bathrooms are already found at Concordia and are common in public restrooms, Nieto was troubled by how intrusive the new ads are.
“We have advertising in the hallways, but these new motion-activated bathroom ads raise the issue of where we can not be advertised to,” said Nieto. “Will they advertise in our classrooms during class, will they print ads in textbooks? There doesn’t seem to be a clear line where they will stop.”

The contract with the consortium has benefits for the entire university, according to Mota. Concordia will be provided with ad space off-campus and in other markets, while students will now have new internship possibilities and the companies will provide student aid money.

The installation of more ads, including the digital screens, will be rolled out over the next month. Four large banners have already been installed by Rouge Media in the EV and LB buildings; the university’s goal is to have 15 at both the Loyola and downtown campus.

Concordia could not make the details of the ad contract known, including its value to the university.

“It’s good business,” said Mota. “The university is trying to get the best value and if we go public with that information it might hurt our suppliers.”

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 08, published October 5, 2010.

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