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INSERT : the Company

Insert is the French leader in pedestrian outdoor advertising. It ranks sixth among outdoor advertising firms in France. Insert has 600 employees out in the field putting up and maintaining over 100,000 advertising signs on the windows of 37,000 store fronts.
Insert clients range from the press (Hachette, Emap, Prisma…) to mass market and telecommunications companies (Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss & Co, Bacardi, Sony, Orange, SFR, France Telecom…), to the automobile (Renault, Fiat) and leisure industries (Universal Music, Disneyland Paris, Gaumont Columbia Tristar Films).



The Icube project

In 2003, Insert launched the Icube project as part of their product and service quality improvement strategy. This strategy was built by developing the geomarketing experience to qualify each of our 100,000 signs according to its respective environment (eg: number of people passing by the sign, neighboring school or train station). The Icube project grew out of a need to manage an ever-growing amount of data on signs in order to construct outdoor advertising networks (sets of shop-window signs grouped by characteristics and constraints).

The Icube objectives

Constitute advertising networks that optimize sign use and respect network marketing criteria.

The solution

An optimization solution based on the CHIP Constraint Programming system by COSYTEC. CHIP allows management of all marketing and production constraints as well as their interactions.

« Constituting an advertising network by attempting to manage all the necessary constraints independently of each other obviously would have made no sense. On the other hand, managing them all simultaneously through a conventional DBMS would have been practically impossible. Under these circumstances, finding a flexible, custom optimization tool with high performance appeared crucial to our business».

Philippe Sobreira, Head of marketing & Geomarketing at Insert  


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A few examples of constraints managed by Icube :

Optimisation Media AdvertisingOptimisation Media Advertising

Geographic constraints

  • The signs in each advertising network must be evenly distributed in each of 2,200 towns and cities. 

  • The split between Paris and the rest of the country must be coherent.

Targeting constraints

  • Pedestrian flow past each sign must be taken into account (eg signs seen predominantly by young people should be assigned to a fifteen-to twenty-five-year-old network.).

  • At least one sign at each of the 4,000 tobacconists used by Insert should be set aside for the tobacco network.

  • Each network may have no more than two signs per store.

 Production constraints

  • Signs on stores that are closed on Mondays must be assigned only to M category networks.

  • Every sign must be allocated to a network.

  • Surplus signs must be evenly distributed.

Poster format and position constraints
  • Certain signs offer a choice of poster position. Choosing the right configuration depends on a set of factors both endogenous and exogenous to the store.

Examples of possible configurations :

Optimisation Media AdvertisingOptimisation Media Advertising


A tool that has enabled us to improve the company’s performance

  • Both quantitatively:

Using Icube in our network creation process has permitted us to generate an additional network, thanks in particular to optimization of multi-poster sign configurations (see diagram above). This new network has boosted our sales potential without increasing the existing number of signs (and thus with no extra cost).

  • And qualitatively: 

Icube has allowed us not only to increase the quality of Insert networks but also to stabilize quality despite the usual movements of signs (eg signs removed or created along the year). Thanks to this quality, we can now guarantee our clients products with identical audience levels and targeting year round. This quality has also allowed us to create twin networks, ie networks which have identical characteristics and are therefore interchangeable.

A constraint decision-support tool that guides our marketing choices when we define our products and networks.

Each year, Icube guides our decisions about which networks to market the following year. During a two-month period, we use Icube to produce thirty or so simulations to determine the mix of products and networks that will be optimal both quantitatively and qualitatively.


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