IBM Smarter Cities Ramp

Making Cities Smarter Using Outdoor Media

IBM has been using technology to make the lives of business people easier for more than a century, but they don’t exactly have the sexiest brand image.  They’ve done a great job of promoting themselves as a no-nonsense company that will give you a solid bottom line, but that’s a difficult concept to translate into a trendy advertising campaign. However, thinking outside the box, they recently succeeded in creating an outdoor media campaign so groundbreaking it’s being used as an advertising case study today!

The Campaign

The campaign itself featured three unique billboards that all contained the slogan, “Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities,” and they did more than just look beautiful.  They were placed in London and Paris, and each one was a very clever solution to a common problem that urbanites often face.

The Bench

IBM Smart Cities Bench

The first was a two-toned billboard with an orange background and red outlines of a bench at the bottom.  But, the clever part was that it actually curved outward where the bottom part of a seat should be, and pedestrians could physically sit on it.  In other words, they did the opposite of a standard advertising practice, and they allowed a bench to connect itself to their billboard.

The Rain Cover

IBM Start Cities Rain Cover

The next billboard wasn’t extremely different from the bench, except it was blue, white, and upside down.  This one provided what looked like an awning, but it saved many people from getting soaked while out walking on a rainy day.

The Ramp

IBM Smarter Cities Ramp

In order to make the third billboard, the designers had to break the mold and start over.  This one was green and much larger, and it was positioned next to a few stairs.  Obviously, it made sense to extend the bottom of the sign in a way that would create a little ramp up the staircase.  It worked for bikes, wheelchairs, suitcases, and anyone else looking for an innovative way to get around.

What Was It Advertising?

These signs are incredibly creative and impressive, but the actual purpose behind them is more mysterious.  They were advertising the People 4 Smarter Cities Program, and this is one which has the goal of providing a platform for the spread of smart ideas.  The aim is to create an easier and more efficient way for city leaders to hear the creative solutions that citizens and other cities have to the various problems of running a metropolis.

Thinking Outside of the Box

The whole concept shows the advantages of thinking outside the box, and the People 4 Smarter Cities project is the type that can be difficult to educate the public about.  Companies often try to push these ideas, but they get brushed off by the average person because they simply look like corporate propaganda. However, it’s hard to ignore a billboard that solves a problem, so people started paying attention.

The Results in the Advertising World

The People for Smarter Cities campaign was orchestrated by Ogilvy and Mather, and the advertising agency received a lot of praise in the creative world.  At the Cannes Lions International Film Festival of Creativity in 2013, they won one of the most coveted prizes in the advertising industry, the Outdoor Lion Grand Prix award.  The campaign was the top of 5,610 entries, and some of the reasons for winning included that they were such simple ideas presented in a new and innovative way.

All It Took Was a Curve

One of the most spectacular parts of this advertising campaign was how a very simple concept demonstrated the whole purpose of the program.  The only physical difference between these and the millions of other signs on the street was a curve or a bend.  Without those, it would just be a flat board trying to push an idea, but the presentation was an actual example of the kind of intelligent thinking that they hope to achieve.

Video of the ‘People For Smarter Cities’ Campaign

How Can Your Business Be Smarter?

Many companies think that the product or service that they offer could limit having a fun, engaging ad campaign, but this just goes to show that even the most traditional businesses can still have a little fun with their creative power.

If you’re not convinced, go ahead and reach out to us.  We can certainly come up with some ideas to help your billboards turn heads.

bMedia Showtime Merger

bMedia Group Acquires Showtime Outdoor Media

On December 18th, 2015 we acquired Showtime Outdoor Media, a local outdoor media company serving the Puerto Rico market. This acquisition makes bMedia Group the #1 local billboard media company in the industry.

This announcement was made by our founding partner Juanchi Casillas, who said “through the consolidation of these companies, bMedia will offer the most comprehensive and valuable billboard circuit in Puerto Rico due its strategic and unique locations. This acquisition reaffirms our commitment to the market to continue to add value to our customers providing them with high impact top of the line quality billboards coupled with excellent service.”

bMedia Showtime Merger

“During the past years, we have been working on making contributions to the market through strategic consolidations that help the local economy and improve the dynamics between clients and billboard advertising. The acquisition of Showtime is another key step in achieving our objective”, said Héctor Horta, who is also a founding partner of bMedia.

As part of this consolidation agreement, bMedia Group will have the support of well-known producer, Jose “Pepe” Dueño, who was the founder of Showtime Outdoor Media. He will join the team to facilitate the continuity of “both Showtime and bMedia are distinguished for the passion and the personal attention we provide to our customers. We are proud to be Puerto Rican entrepreneurs whose goals and achievements continue to contribute to our country’s growth”, said Dueño.

Founded in 2009, bMedia Group provides first in class billboards in digital and static formats. The company offers strategic outdoor media advertising services, flexible solutions, and personalized services through a team of marketing professionals.

BMW vs Audi

The Billboard Battle of BMW vs Audi

Conflict always has been and always will be a part of this world. Ranging from brutal military conquests that determine the fate of millions of people, to a simple sports rivalry of opposing teams, humans always seem to find a way to fight against each other. While the Billboard Battle of BMW vs Audi, may not be on the same scale of importance as the decisive World War II battle of Stalingrad, for our industry it was groundbreaking. Never before had companies used outdoor media not just to communicate with the general public, but to purposefully create a conflict between brands. While this was clearly done for the amusement of the public, the exposure and success was monumental.

Let’s take a look at the two sides involved in the Billboard Battle of BMW vs Audi…

BMW

Headquarters: Munich, Germany
Founded: March 7, 1916
Product: Luxury Automobiles

Audi

Headquarters: Ingolstadt, Germany
Founded: July 16, 1909
Product: Luxury Automobiles

The Inception of the Battle

It all began in a wealthy neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Audi was the aggressor in the billboard battle and started with the simple billboard below.

Chess Audi Billboard

The First Attack

The drivers of Los Angeles who passed by this billboard on a daily basis had no clue what this innocent and simple outdoor advertisement was going to cause. After a short time, Audi switched out this billboard with the one below, provoking a response from BMW.

Your Move Audi Billboard

The Retaliation

While BMW could have chosen to ignore Audi’s attempt to get under their skin, they decided to strike back instead. This follow-up billboard was located on Santa Monica Blvd. in a very high traffic area of Los Angeles. It was also strategically placed across the street from Audi’s ‘Your Move’ billboard, where BMW took a bold approach with a powerful one-word response of ‘Checkmate.’ This was a very successful retaliation on their part which sparked a whirlwind of publicity in the news and on social media for both brands.

BMW Audi Billboard Battle

The Counter-Attack

In response to BMW’s retaliation and to take advantage of the new social media attention, Audi held a Facebook contest for users to create a photoshopped response to BWM’s claim to further fuel the war. While many people had some very creative idea’s about what should be Audi’s next move, eventually they responded with the billboard below. In this billboard with another very bold claim, Audi showcased their extremely powerful and expensive vehicle, the R8, on a nearby billboard with the phrase ‘Your pawn is no match for our king.’ Many people thought this would be the clever ending to the battle of creativity and advertising budgets between the two German luxury auto manufacturers.

The End of the Battle

BMW took matters into their own hands to put an end to this billboard battle. Featuring their Formula 1 car, BMW paid for a branded blimp to be tethered to the Audi billboard with the intention of both ending the battle and claiming themselves the victors.
BMW AUDI Billboards

The Conclusion

While some might say that BMW’s final attack meant victory for the Munich-based luxury car brand, the truth is both companies reaped the benefits of the war. As the objective of billboard advertising is to get as many eyes on your billboard and brand as possible, this conflict that sparked a wave of PR and social media attention was very valuable for both sides. To this day, both BMW and Audi have a very healthy rivalry and while there have been no battles of the same magnitude as this one, they are often taking shots at each other across various mediums of advertising.

BMW vs Audi