Target Muscles In On Macy's Herald Square

by , Nov 30, 2006, 5:00 AM
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Move over, Macy's. Herald Square has a new attraction--and another retailer is using it to advertise over the holiday season. CBS Outdoor and Monster Media have partnered to demonstrate Monster's interactive outdoor ad system, called MonsterVision, in midtown Manhattan. The new Target display, aimed at mass transit riders, responds to individuals' motions to produce an engaging ad experience in a visible, well-trafficked environment.

Some 500,000 commuters per day will see the display from Target, which does not yet have a store in Manhattan. (It is the latest seasonal effort by Target to muscle in on Macy's home turf. During the Thanksgiving season, Target staged an endurance performance act by David Blaine coinciding with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.)

In the MonsterVision system, large, colorful ads are projected onto the walls of transit structures, like underground passages and concourses. Using "video-image-based control" technology, the projected images move dynamically in response to input from passers-by, such as gestures and other kinds of motion--both deliberate and unconscious.

Hallie Stiglitz, vice-president of operations for Monster Media, says the display, which runs through mid-January, is a snow scene. Little Target logos fall like snowflakes. When you touch them, they burst into larger snowflakes.

By responding in a noticeable way to the motion of users, MonsterVision quickly draws them into the experience. It also relies on the public aspect of place-based media, building its audience by attracting small groups of users that begin demonstrating the technology for others.

Out-of-home is one area in traditional media that has enjoyed robust growth in recent years. The out-of-home category is on track to grow 8 percent over last year, for a projected rev total of $.6.8 billion. Now, a new sub-category is taking off: interactive place-based video.

In May, for example, corporate consulting giant Accenture sponsored the permanent installation of large-screen, touch-guided interface for use by travelers passing through Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the country's busiest international airport. The innovative displays, created by Los Angeles-based design firm Schematic, resemble the futuristic computer interface in sci-fi thriller "Minority Report"--another Schematic design.

According to Dale Herigstad, executive creative director at Schematic, the user's choices create a program of video and text information that's visible to viewers standing farther away. Herigstad has formulated a model of traditional "distances" that have dominated American media for many years. It also aims to change that model radically.

Herigstad says there are "public" or "outdoor" media (meant to be viewed from 20 feet or more, such as billboards), friends and family (10 feet, things like TV), personal (two feet, computers), and private (one foot or less, for personal devices like iPods).

Like Accenture's new displays at O'Hare, MonsterVision's installations at Herald Square blur the lines between public and outdoor, allowing private users to create public media displays that are visible--and accessible-to all.

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