HTC, Aerva Turn Times Square Into Social Platform

Marketers are combining social media, mobile and digital out-of-home to enable consumers to broadcast themselves to the world, with brands serving as the catalyst. In the latest such campaign, HTC tapped agency Omnicom and ad tech specialist Aerva to create an 11-week-long campaign, centered on New York’s Times Square, to promote the new HTC One smartphone over the holidays.
Taking beauty as its theme, the HTC campaign invited people from all over the world to tweet photos of things they found beautiful. After appropriate screening (“beautiful” can mean a lot of things), the photos were displayed on digital billboards in Times Square.

Aerva also arranged to have a photo taken of each submission as it was displayed over Times Square, then sent it back to the participant as a “digital keepsake.”
Participants could also submit photos by email or by posting to Weibo or Weixin, Chinese microblogging services comparable to Twitter and messaging apps. The campaign was timed to coincide with high-profile events in Times Square, including New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl-related festivities.
If seeing their photo displayed in Times Square wasn’t enough incentive, each week HTC and Aerva also handed out free HTC One phones. One device was distributed by a random drawing to each off the five markets (U.S., U.K., China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and a special drawing for a gold-plated phone -- which predictably generated more social media buzz, as winners posted photos of themselves with their new devices.
Aerva founder and CEO Sanjay Manandhar said the campaign received over 58,000 photo submissions from Europe, North America and Asia. He pointed out that the campaign was a way for people who had never been to New York City to (virtually) “visit” the Big Apple.
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