Billboards are a traditional media tool but still have opportunities to push the envelope and interact with audiences. Digital billboards can easily interact with passerby. I see many opportunities for companies to grow sales by interacting with customers through billboards in collaboration with smart and feature phones. There have been several cases that have taken the traditional billboard to a whole new level of interaction with consumers. Below I discuss five examples of interactive billboards.
In 2009 Honda took large steps to make an interactive billboard in Dublin. With SMS/ Bluetooth passerby could send a text to the number displayed on the billboard and it would release smoke from the car’s exhaust pipes. The user experience continues as the user receives a text from the Honda mobile site giving them information on where they can find out more about the car and the nearest dealer for a test drive. Honda did a great job of not just intriguing the customer, but also sticking to their strategy to increase traffic to dealers to drive sales. Please refer to the video at the top.
In 2010, Forever 21 had a 61-foot digital billboard in Times Square that featured a virtual models who interacted with the crowd through a camera. The model in the digital billboard interacted with the real-time image of the crowd. This was highly interactive but in my opinion there was one aspect missing. There was a missed opportunity for the crowd to download and share the photo of them on the billboard. This aspect of the user sharing the photo would have made the billboard much more interactive.
Nokia got the 2-way interaction between the audience and the billboard right in 2008. In the Lisbon Airport, Nokia’s N90 campaign combined video, animation, graphics and text to give the onlooker complete interaction with the billboard. The billboard takes onlookers’ photos and displays them on the billboard. The onlooker is then able to download content such as images, video, and music onto their mobile device using Bluetooth and infra red technology. Nokia hit all aspects of an innovative billboard that lets audiences truly interact.
In 2010, a Swedish McDonald’s invited passers by to play ping pong with a digital billboard. Passers by were invited to take a photo of one of the objects bouncing on the board and they would receive a free coupon after displaying the photo in the store. The ROI could be measured since users were asked to show their photo in the store. This billboard truly interacted with the audience. Another benefit of this example is the that both smart and feature phones could be used.
BBC World created engaging billboards to promote the launching of BBC World in America. Billboards were setup with questions that onlookers were invited to respond to via text message. The interaction was set up in real time. BBC got the engagement and interaction correct and I hope more brands follow suit.
Now that I’ve taken a look at just five interactive billboards, I ponder why more companies have not jumped on interacting with customers through billboards. Not only do they create great buzz, but a strategy can be put in place to get to the bottom line. I feel one important aspect that needs to be utilized is “What’s in it for me?” Although these billboards may be fun, the customer needs an incentive to gain ROI for the company. Mc Donald’s did this with their billboard because onlookers had an incentive to participate. Also utilizing sharing and Likes as well as QR codes and social media could produce great benefits for brands.Marketing