Interactive Signs Promote TV Shows, Safety

Part of the appeal of digital out-of-home signs is their potential for interactivity, which can be used to catch the attention of passersby in ways that static signs just can't. This week brought news of two new campaigns employing interactive DOOH signage to break through the visual clutter of everyday life.

In the first campaign, CBS Corp. is using signs equipped with digital cameras paired with mirror-like displays to convey the eerie feeling of surveillance pervading its new fall drama, "Person of Interest." Pedestrians walking by the displays who linger to look in the mirror see a startling notification reading "person of interest," which then counts down to their photo being taken three seconds later (giving them the option of moving along if they wish). The camera then snaps a photo and displays it alongside other people who have been photo-captured by the same display.

In July I wrote about TNT's elaborate digital out-of-home campaign in New York City to promote the second season of murder mystery "Rizzoli & Isles," which combined DOOH with experiential advertising. With Pearl Media, TNT created a 100-foot-long display showing a fictional murder scene; passers-by could help the eponymous crime-fighters by gathering clues from the scene, which included open pill bottles, footprints, fingerprints and a sheeted "corpse" in the center of the scene. An interactive video wall allowed participants to dust for fingerprints, survey the crime scene, look at DNA evidence, and view an autopsy report to determine which of three suspects committed the crime. As each clue was logged, part of the crime scene would light up. After solving the crime, the participant received a photo showing him or her with TV characters Rizzoli and Isles, which appeared in the DO display and could also be shared via Facebook.

Meanwhile another campaign, launched by a Canadian nonprofit called Preventable in partnership with AOR Wasserman + Partners and The Media Merchant, is using interactive DOOH to deter speeding in school zones, on behalf of the British Columbia Automobile Association's Road Safety Foundation and the cities of Surrey and Burnaby. The 10-foot wide mobile digital LED billboards snap pictures of speeding cars and display them instantaneously, with a message reading "Before you rush through here, have a word with yourself."

The British Columbia displays have several advantages over more "pedestrian" speed monitors of the type seen on many American roads, which simply display "Your Speed." For one thing, the latter fail to identify specific cars as breaking the speed limit, which makes it difficult to know that you've been singled out in heavy traffic. The American displays also lack the human element of a personalized message, which might make it more likely that drivers will actually heed the warning.

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