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Image by steelmonkey
Outside a "mall" in Abuja, Nigeria: a blackboard advertising real-estate for rent. Interested people can inquire at the GLO shop next to the sign.

As a marketing device, this is an example of cross-media communication that relies on several infrastructures to make it work. Discovery of this information relies on the architecture of the physical space: roads, sidewalks and the proximity to a public space to bring this information to potential buyers. Note the careful placement of the sign in the unpaved area next to the paved sidewalk, so as to keep it visible to both pedestrians and passing or stopped motorists.

The second infrastructure is the social network at the GLO shop (cellphone airtime shops are common social hubs in Nigeria). Delegating the job of answering queries about the ads to the shop relies on the fact that, as a social hub and a low-margin business that relies on volumes, the GLO shop is constantly manned to ensure that potential airtime buyers will always find someone at the shop. The constancy enables the side business of helping potential renters with information about the ads.

The third infrastructure is, of course, the cellular phone network. Note the cellphone number scrawled at the bottom of the board. Given the importance of mobile phones as a method of communication in this country, this is practically a bonafide calling card and authenticator of intent all rolled into one.

Targeted advertising? Take that, Google!

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