I was in New York last week. Our offices there are near Times Square and I usually stay in the surrounding area for convenience. It's obviously become sort of a mecca for digital signage, and there always seems to be something new there. Walking through the crowded streets and watching passers-by gaze endlessly at the bright lights inspired me to post this collection of cool (though not exclusively Times Square-based) digital signage efforts.
The company has been earning a reputation as an innovative marketer, and this projected experience that it has billed Ralph Lauren 4D is the latest in a series of cutting edge digital out-of-home (DOOH) initiatives. The production is pretty amazing, blending video and architecture seamlessly. The company was also pumping Ralph Lauren scents through the crowd to further enhance the experience.
American Eagle Outfitters – Times Square
Opening a flagship store in Times Square these days seems to be an ongoing study in one-up-man-ship, and the huge, multisided screen on top of American Eagle Outfitters is no exception. It has been programming it with interesting content, including what has become an old standby in Times Square: your photo here. There's a bunch of videos on the Web of this, but here's one of some young girls getting very excited to see their images projected larger than life. You can see more of the content reel here and here. I also saw a QR code on the screen at one point, but wasn't fast enough to get a shot of it or see what exactly it linked to. Interestingly, the retailer is also leveraging Foursquare, running a promotional discount for those that check in, and launched a campaign earlier this year on its billboard to announce.
The Disney Store – Times Square
I had read about the impressive new store that the company was opening in Times Square. One morning, I was walking to our offices and saw swarms of people wearing Mickey ears. Turns out it was part of the store's official launch party. Here's video of Mickey unveiling the screen outside. The company is also putting a Disney spin on the "your photo here" competition; encouraging people to submit photos of themselves wearing Mickey ears to be featured on the billboard. There's also some cool digital signage inside the store – see this video for quick looks at magic trees and an interactive mirror.
Forever 21 – Times Square
This is yet another unique take on the "your photo here" idea, but it works in real time. The screen shows a live aerial shot of the street, with additional video of a model appearing to interact with the crowd. One example of interaction is taking a picture and holding up the still photo for all to see. Every time I walk past it, I'm amazed at the number of people stopped dead in the street, watching, waving, shooting their own pictures and video, and so on. It's a clever way to bring people right into the experience, in real time. Check out the video here.
Telstra – 55 Days of Christmas
Here is another fairly unique large-scale projection campaign, featuring a bunch of different locations and content. Love the popcorn spilling out all over the building.
Guinness – Pour Your Own Pint
The famous brewery has been testing unique high-top tables featuring an integrated Guinness tap, allowing pub visitors to draw their own pint. The trials have been going on for years, but more recently added a unique digital signage element as well: what appears to be a painted portrait of Arthur Guinness himself. Patrons often stare and admire the work, only to be startled when the old fellow begins moving around. Sometimes it starts with a subtle wink. Other times, he's trying to light a cigar. Or, perhaps he's sneaking a listen to some tunes from his iPod. (Props to DailyDOOH for pointing me to this originally.)
The digital signage landscape is constantly evolving, and it is exciting to see such innovation happening. Each example here does an excellent job of engaging the viewer, whether it is by surprise as with Mr. Guinness, through multi-sensory scale as in the projected examples, or by literally bringing the viewer into the content – the basic tenant is clear (and nothing new). Engage the user, get them involved and interacting, and it's simply more likely that they will remember your message and share it with friends. Sound advice for any medium, but the real-time interactivity afforded by digital brings the concept to another level.
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Jeremy Lockhorn leads the emerging media practice (EMP) at Razorfish. The team functions as a think-tank on new technologies and next-generation media, and operates as an extension of current client teams. EMP is focused on driving groundbreaking marketing solutions for clients. Jeremy is a filter, consultant, and catalyst for innovation - helping clients and internal teams to understand, evaluate, and roll out strategic pilot programs while reinventing marketing strategies to leverage the power of emerging media. Jeremy joined the agency in 1997 and is currently based in Seattle, WA. His Twitter handle is @newmediageek.
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