Screen Time

With an eye on ­customer engagement, an ­entertainment marketing firm taps into the epic fail supply chain

Photo: Playdio sotware engineer, Dan Martens, and director of sales and marketing, Mat Lunnen

THINK ABOUT ALL those times when you’re waiting somewhere, watching a screen as it plays an ­endless loop of mildly funny videos of cats getting stuck in boxes and dudes driving their ATV into the lake. The simplest way to explain the latest product push from London-based Playdio, is that they are providing the boxes that play those kind of viral video feeds.

Or, they make a supercharged version of them. Playdio recently launched a foray into video marketing — PlaydioTV. It’s a plug-and-play system that lets businesses set up a custom video marketing feed that hooks viewers with viral videos, news clips and sports highlights, and offers a way for businesses to advertise to, or communicate with, their customers.

“[Business owners] can go in and create their own custom mixes,” explains Mat Lunnen, director of sales and marketing at Playdio. “Beyond that, they can also upload their own imaging content to promote specials, special events, sporting events, anything like that. They have the ­complete ability to custom schedule those mixes to ­automatically change throughout the day as their ­business needs change.”

“An engaged customer stays in your business longer” —Mat Lunnen

Playdio’s bank of licensed content is stored in the cloud, and businesses can download what they want to show, ensuring the show goes on should internet ­connectivity run into hiccups.

Playdio is no stranger to the ambient entertainment space. Launched in 2017, the company first focused on custom music mixes for businesses wanting to spruce up their background music for customers (Playdio is the preferred vendor for Boston Pizza nationwide, for example).

Spiritually, Playdio is the descendent of Muzak, the original company to pipe soothing, vanilla music into commercial spaces. In the twenty-first century, video and audio marketing has grown into a major part of the advertising industry.

Businesses employ these platforms not so much for what they show, but for what problem the solve: boredom. Maybe you’re waiting at a bar, or getting your oil changed or running on a treadmill. Point is, you’re primed and ready to be entertained, which means you’re likely primed and ready to be advertised to as well.

“An engaged customer stays in your business longer,” says Lunnen. “Not only do they stay longer, but they’re digesting your marketing messages, so by seeing those you can start to influence purchasing decisions.”

The Playdio team started rolling out PlaydioTV ­hookups just before COVID-19 measures went into effect, but so far Lunnen says he’s hearing good things back from clients. “Most importantly, they’re saying that their customers really enjoy the programming,” he says. Which is reassuring, because, “if we’re not delivering an exceptional entertainment experience, then those ­marketing messages are falling short.” Kieran Delamont

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