Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cool interactive billboards and 90210

Interactive media is where it’s at these days in terms of delivering excitement and experience to consumers. Often though, the message is gets lost in the punchiness of the medium. The channel distributor has done a great job selling ad space and gross consumer impressions to unsuspecting, wide-eyed brand managers that the issue of whether or not the marketing is effective or not is never raised.

Such might have been the case for an interactive billboard I experienced a few weekends ago at the Harbourfront Hot and Spicy Food Festival. Watch the video, it’s a 6 x 8 foot led screen which is touch-sensitive. As people step and tap on it, colourful led balls go flying around the screen. It’s wild. My friend Olga took the video as we played around.

…but what was it advertising again? What brand was there?

I’m not saying that this was an ineffective vehicle – far from it. We stood there giggling and jumping around on this led mat for probably ten minutes. People around us joined in. So the audience is tuned in and captive, they’re rapt by what they’re seeing and the fact that they have control over the ad itself is a big plus. As mentioned before in this blog, participation is a critical factor in modern marketing, especially in an ad targeted to Gen Ys. It afford a modicum of individualization and personal spin on the marketing, making the consumer feel like they have accountability over the marketing. This, in turn, makes the consumer feel that the ad has greater relevance to them (because they created it or had a part in it).

Adverblog talks about some of the better interactive online marketing campaigns. It’s interesting in all of these to see how prominently the brand and product are featured. It’s never unclear what is being explained.

So as for that wild led screen, perhaps its use is better for promotional settings where you can physically interact with the brand. Imagine Nike setting up two of these in stores and allowing consumers to try out the shoes as if they were a soccer goalie or seeing how high they can jump in the shoes. Imagine these displays in high-traffic locations like the PATH system and each step displays the kinetic energy created – a potential ad for Bullfrog or Bruce Power looking to promote their clean energy options to consumers.

Anyway, some food for thought. The new series of 90210 just started, featuring AnnaLynne McCord:

…and yes, bad television counts as legitimate research into consumer culture.

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