Clear Channel, OMD and Illinois Lottery Team for Chicago Billboard Traffic Updates

  |  February 24, 2010   |  Comments

Nineteen digital billboards provide Powerball information alongside live traffic data.

Chicagoland drivers lucky enough to win the Powerball game won't really care about the region's notorious traffic jams. For the less lucky, a new digital billboard campaign sponsored by the Illinois Lottery and architected by Omnicom's OMD could come in handy.

The campaign features 19 digital billboards that not only provide Powerball information but also offer to motorists live traffic data. The 13-week campaign is the first use of a new feature being offered by Clear Channel Communications, the owner of the billboards, which calls the program its "Total Out of Home Network."

Traffic data for the campaign comes from the Total Traffic Network, a Clear Channel service that uses its own reporters, traffic cameras, aircraft, broadcast towers and partners to supply traffic information to 125 metro areas in four countries. Prior to the launch of the Total Out of Home Network, the Total Traffic Network data was available only on radio, TV, the Internet and navigation devices.

Clear Channel said it plans to expand the real-time traffic offering to other markets where it operates digital billboards. Clear Channel's president of global media sales, John Partilla, said it's very likely the digital billboards will also be used to display additional, sponsor-driven information such mass-transit delays, weather and local community information. "One thing we are trying to really share with advertisers is we are trying to create ideas that are as big as our reach," Partilla said.

OMD strategy supervisor Justin Southern, in a statement, said the campaign takes advantage of "commuters' inherent interest and instinctual need for information about their commute to deliver the Lottery's message in a fresh, high-engagement environment."

The campaign illustrates how media agencies, in this case, OMD, are increasingly becoming involved in campaign idea development, Partilla said. "OMD was the strategic driver and partner of this opportunity on behalf of the Illinois Lottery," he said. "What's interesting about that is that media agencies are sometimes criticized for sometimes being focused on just pricing and not on an idea. That's changing in the industry."

Partilla said the Total Out of Home Network is an example of Clear Channel's new effort to "think more holistically" and better leverage the company's diverse and wide media reach. For example, he noted announcers on Clear Channel radio stations will be mentioning the billboard displays while on the air as part of a "cross-partnering" effort "across the house of Clear Channel."

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