Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Unboring Billboards

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 26, 2010

The new digital billboards are taking the medium out of marketing’s dark ages by acting as a source of information and entertainment in line with today’s electronic age.

There are two digital billboards I pass on my way to and from work. While sitting in traffic, they are a minimal form of entertainment, with idle drivers waiting to see what’s next.

The boards are being used in two different ways. One is a steady rotation of ads for local businesses, interspersed with messages about local charities. It provides a way to get information on a wide range of topics in a short period – the fundraising walk is next weekend, the Beacon Grille is serving brunch on Mother’s Day, etc.

The other currently acts as a brand channel for Coke – messages about new products, deals, contests and cause marketing campaigns provide a mix of messages and show the broad scope of the company’s products and its CSR commitments. Here’s a snack bundle deal at a retailer, here are the new Coke mini cans, here’s how we’re supporting a charity.

Nicely designed, the Coke channel is engaging, has personality and adds another dimension to the marketing of one our most ubiquitous brands.

What applications will digital billboards have in the future? News headlines, live video feeds from breaking stories, stock quotes, weather updates, maybe even Twitter streams. What do you think?

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3 Responses to “Unboring Billboards”

  1. Hillary: thanks, but I have to humbly disagree. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the new digital billboards on Interstate 80’s approach to the Bay Bridge have created nothing but an annoyance – and controversial headlines as well. Why? They’re too bright, they distract drivers and create diversions which ultimately affect the safety of all. I think it’s time we re-thought littering our landscape with these ugly additions. My 2 cents. Cheers, David

  2. At least it’s safter than texting while driving. For now.

  3. I’m in Los Angeles where we have seen a proliferation of billboards – static, digital, on sides of buildings, etc. and are finally starting to address the issue. Besides being unsightly, they are dangerous. There are many other creative advertising options avaliable other than giant screens next to high traffic areas. Here we have digital ads in elevators, public transit, on top of gas pumps, even in public restrooms.

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