The Mosquito Killer Billboard

Humans have spent all of history protecting themselves from dangerous predators, but one specific animal brings fear into the hearts of people all over the globe. There are ways to fight back against this creature, but no one knows how to stop it completely. Because of a number of factors, it’s becoming a major hazard to the health of the public.

But, in the most unsuspected of places, a solution was found.

A billboard is saving the day in the global battle against mosquitos.

Mosquito Killer Billboard

Basics About the Mosquito Killer Billboard

The billboard itself looks normal enough at first sight, but it has a little more than your average sign. It is white with cut out letters, and it contains a message that says “This billboard kills hundreds of Zika mosquitos every day.”

There is some sophisticated machinery built inside of it, and that’s what gives it some teeth. First, it has internal containers that emit carbon dioxide and lactic acid into the air. These are attractive to mosquitos because they’re the same scents that come from humans, so the insects flock to the source. And, it’s so strong that mosquitos will come from distances of up to 4 kilometers (2.48 miles) away.

Once the little animals get closer, they notice the fluorescent lights inside the sign, and that makes them even more interested. Then, they have a little entrance that’s easy for them to find, so they fly right in. Unfortunately for the insects, it’s not so easy to get out. They remain trapped until they die of dehydration.

Why Mosquitos Are a Problem

Mosquitos are a big problem around the world since they act as mini carriers of disease, and they’re extremely hard to stop. This really came to light in 2015 when a major outbreak of the Zika virus began in Brazil, and the world took notice since so many people would be traveling there for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Since the virus can cause birth defects in babies born to mothers who have had it, it was significant enough to be called a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization.

Billboard that Kills Mosquitos

The Agencies Behind the Billboard

When creating outdoor advertising, it isn’t normal to make a trap for a dangerous animal. It’s common to try to promote causes related to public health, but they aren’t usually this direct and efficient. However, the creativity that comes out of advertising companies seems to be never ending. This whole project was created by Periscope and NBS, two agencies in Brazil. With the threat of the Zika virus causing so much trouble, they made this solution and taught others how to do the same.

Giving the Design for Free

One very noteworthy part of this billboard is how the agencies who created it gave away the instructions on how to make the mosquito killer billboard. They went so far as to build a website that contains detailed information on how it operates, as well as how to make one yourself.

This was so important because it took it from a publicity stunt and turned it into a gift for humankind. Following a similar strategy can really serve as an inspiration for other organizations to do something similar. And, they can use this as an example if they need to justify investments they’re making in their own projects.

Mosquito Killing Billboard Construction

Not the First Helpful Billboard

A billboard was built in 2013 that helped a major problem in Peru. The area suffers from very low amounts of drinking water because there’s hardly any rainfall. What water the people are able to get is often polluted, but there is often a humidity level over 95%. Seeing a problem and a potential solution, an ad agency partnered with a local university to see what they could do. They ended up creating a billboard that collected water from the air, purified it, and stored it into tanks. Then, people were able to come with bottles and collect the drinking water for their families. It didn’t quite solve the entire issue, but it was a creative solution that helped a lot of people.

Are You Able to Solve a Health Problem?

Even if you don’t think that mosquitos are a major threat, do you have any problems you’ve thought about solving? If so, you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. Sometimes someone has already come up with a solution (like what has happened in this case), and other times you will be able to find help with it. Organizations that are fighting against diseases and other hazards on an everyday basis are usually more than happy to help you turn a dream into a reality.

Let’s try to save the world, one billboard at a time.

McDonalds Pick n Play

McDonalds Pick n Play Billboard Game

From a young age, McDonald’s does a great job of pushing its image of a playful wonderland right into your head. That works pretty well, but eventually you grow up, and Ronald McDonald becomes less and less interesting as the years pass.

But, it’s not only children who like to play. Adults may be too shy to order a Happy Meal, but they enjoy having some games in their life.

A few years ago, the fast food chain managed to get full grown adults to unleash their inner child. They even managed to make it happen in a crowded square.

But, how did they do it?

McDonalds Pick n Play

A Playground for All Ages

To set the scene, take yourself back to the year 2011, and imagine you’re walking through the streets of Stockholm, Sweden. Now, look up at the giant Golden Arches on a billboard, and pull out your smartphone.

Are you ready for a game? It’s not difficult. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty similar to the game of Pong. The digital display will bring up a video game in which a ball starts bouncing from one side to the other. Using your phone, you move a paddle up and down so the ball doesn’t escape.

Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?

The Details of the Game

This stunt was put together for McDonald’s by DDB Stockholm, and it was quite a hit. Many people participated because it was so easy to do, and if they played well enough, they could win a prize.

The game didn’t require an app download or any other complicated procedure. All people had to do was go to the website that the billboard advertised, and it used their location data to make sure they were actually there.

Consumers got to play, and they had to survive for 30 seconds. If they did, they were rewarded with a coupon for free food at one of the nearby restaurants.

McDonalds Billboard Game

Lack of App Was Key to Success

One of the major reasons this campaign was successful was because of how simple it was. When doing something like this today, many people will instinctively decide to ask consumers to download an app to play along. They even try to build that app in a way that the users can take it with them and play later, and it’s seen as a great reminder of the brand.

While that method can work, it causes a major entry barrier to anyone thinking about participating. That was the real beauty of this one. There weren’t any downloads necessary, and the players didn’t have to register. They just visited the website, played the game, and (hopefully) won.

Then, they popped into a McDonald’s to enjoy their delicious trophy.

Gave Unexpected Interaction to Customers

Another great feature of this campaign was the interactivity it offered. Billboards are often used to advertise a competition or communicate results of something happening, but they’re very rarely the actual game board. Good signs are passively seen and melted into the subconscious of the potential consumers, but it’s proof of a great idea when people want to stop and actively discuss it with each other.

Pick n Play Billboard Game

Free Prizes!

An additional clever aspect of this plan was the call to action that was disguised in the form of a prize. Instead of just suggesting that customers stop by for lunch, they gave them the incentive of free food. They may or may not buy lunch during that visit, but they’ll remember the location (and hopefully the good experience they had) next time they’re in the area.

Also, bragging to friends about winning something for free is always a great way to encourage word-of-mouth communication.

Do You Use Mobile in Your Campaigns?

If you haven’t ever tried integrating mobile experiences in your campaigns, this is a great example of why you should. Don’t forget that it can go far beyond mobile ads or having an app that makes it easier for your customers to interact with your company. Smartphones are a major part of life in the 21st century, so consider them just as strong of a medium as billboards, radio/TV, print, and online channels.

 Not The First McDonald’s Billboard Game

A year before this billboard happened, the same agency created a similar sign for the burger chain. It was less interactive because it only required customers to snap a photo of fast moving foods, and they could show that for a real version of the item for free in a local McDonald’s. As mobile technology improved, the fancier version was possible. Just imagine what we can do now!

Game On!

Have you ever had a similar idea for your business? At bMedia Group, we love to be a part of making these amazing concepts come to life, and we’d be happy to talk about how to turn your creative thoughts into a reality.

Vehicle Recognition Billboards

Vehicle Recognition Billboards

Do you notice billboards on the side of the road when you’re driving? Most people do, but they’re far more effective if they’re something you can relate to instead of a generic ad. However, this can be quite a challenge for advertisers because of the diverse backgrounds of drivers going past the signs. There’s no way that they can make a billboard that will speak specifically to each driver and blast the right message.

Or, is there?

Yes, there have been a few different times that billboards got a little bit personal with the drivers looking at them!

The Chevy Malibu Is Better Than Your Car

Vehicle Recognition Billboards

This campaign was one that advertised the Chevy Malibu automobile, but it didn’t simply stop at showing a nice message with an image. Instead, the digital billboard had special technology to register who was watching it, and then it responded in a way that would speak specifically to that audience. So in place of the generic ad, it would directly compare the Chevy to the type of car that the person was driving. For example, it would tell drivers who have a Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, or Hyundai Sonata what better gas mileage (or other benefits) they would have in a Malibu.

Billboards Recognize Vehicles

The campaign was put together as a joint effort between Posterscope USA (an out-of-home communications agency) and Lamar Advertising Company (an outdoor advertising company). It was placed in New Jersey, Dallas, and Chicago, and the timing of the display was key to the whole process. It would change the display with adequate time for the driver to see it as they passed, and then it would change back to the original image.

Also, it’s important to know that the system didn’t save any information about the drivers!

It’s Not Always about Cars

Billboard Vehicle Recognition

This type of technology can target drivers, but it doesn’t necessarily have to talk about cars. There’s another similar example that was used in London, but it dove more into the interests of the drivers. In this case, there were three digital billboards placed right next to each other, and the whole thing was positioned next to a roundabout. This allowed for more space to deliver a single message, and it was an easier opportunity to mix images with text and logos.

This sign was developed by Ocean, a British advertising agency, and it builds a profile of a driver based on the type of car they’re in. Then it can advertise luxury goods, clothing, newer models of the same car, and other products and services that the particular group might be interested in.

Again, they made a point of saying that it didn’t store any personal information.

These Signs Can Boost Egos

There was an electronic billboard outside of an airport in Melbourne, Australia that liked to help a certain type of customer brag more than usual. Whenever a Porsche was about to cruise by, they would be greeted with the message that “It’s so easy to pick you out in a crowd,” and the Porsche logo. This one was put together by oOH! Media, and it was a great way to make a luxury brand feel even more luxurious.

Education is Necessary to Prevent Fear

One problem with campaigns like these is that people will start to be concerned about their privacy. Because of the fact that the sign is reading them, they’ll be worried that it’s using their image or license plate to store and use data about them. Since having a Big Brother feeling associated with your brand isn’t very desirable, we advise you to educate the public about the workings of any similar projects you do.

However, that can be a great opportunity for a little extra publicity. It’s fairly likely that journalists will be interested in this type of campaign, and they can help spread the message that it isn’t storing data or invading privacy in any way.

Technology is Only Increasing

Billboards like this were technologically impossible just a few years ago, but all of these campaigns managed to do it in different ways. And as the technology improves, it also becomes more affordable. Don’t rule out any sort of advertising ideas as being too expensive until you actually check the prices.

Are Vehicle Recognition Billboards the Future?

These vehicle recognition billboards are pretty incredible, so it’s pretty easy to think that they could be the future of outdoor advertising. That could very well be true, but it’s also very difficult to tell. One of the biggest problems is that a busy road probably doesn’t allow time for every driver to get a customized message, but it still can be really noticeable for the others to see multiple signs in the same place while in their cars.

Litter Hong Kong

A Billboard that Identifies People Who Litter

Do you have an opinion on people who litter?  Almost everyone does. Unfortunately, for those living in crowded urban areas, it’s really just a fact of life. Governments and societies try to crack down on it, but many people just don’t listen.

One anti-litter group decided that enough was enough, and they took a fairly radical step to fight the problem.  But, did they cross any ethical lines themselves?  That’s up to you to decide.

The Faces of Litter

The Problem

Hong Kong is a city full of people.  As a matter of fact, the more than 7 million inhabitants crammed into such a small place ranks it as the fourth most densely populated region on the planet.

That many people always adds up to a logistical nightmare when it comes to waste disposal, but it doesn’t help that littering seems to be the official sport.  Every day, there is more than 16,000 tons of waste dumped in the city, and this has given life to the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative.  The organization’s name is pretty straightforward about what they do, but you might be surprised to learn that they literally launched an in-your-face campaign to combat the problem.

Litter Hong Kong

Basics of the Campaign

The government has already tried many methods of going after this problem, so the campaign had to find a unique way of getting to people.  There are pretty hefty fines given to anyone caught littering, but that just wasn’t motivational enough.  This led the environmental group to team up with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong to try and put together something that would really get people listening.  So, the strategy decided on for this campaign was to do a bit of shaming for the litterbugs in society.

They Even Found the Perfect Day to Do It

This whole project was called the Face of Litter Campaign, and they had the perfect day to launch it:  Earth Day.  Leading up to it, teams had worked to collect garbage, and they managed to pick up more than 4,000 tons from the streets.  Then, they gave it to some scientists to work their magic.

What Tech Did They Need to Do It?

Scientists at Parabon NanoLabs used Snapshot™ DNA phenotyping to analyze who had touched the various garbage samples, and this allowed them to make a digital drawing of the litterbug responsible for each individual piece.  They tended to focus on bits of garbage that would have physical bits of people left behind, and some of the favorites were coffee cups, cigarette butts, and condoms.  This technology has the ability to predict eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, shape of the face, and a lot more about people just from a tiny amount of their DNA.  It may sound like something out of science fiction, but that’s the world we live in today.

Do Not Litter Outdoor Media

What Did It Accomplish?

The Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative has some great programs in place to clean up the trash.  Unfortunately, they were really stuck in the pattern of cleaning up after people, and they weren’t having much success in preventing littering in the first place.  That’s where this campaign really helped out – it got people talking.  In only two weeks, it managed to get 3.9 million engagements on social media, and $5 million in earned media coverage.

Advertising vs. Activism

This campaign was very successful by many measurements, but it does raise some ethical questions.  The pictures that were shown were generated drawings of theoretical people, but is it appropriate to publicly shame people?  Even if it works to solve a problem, it can cause harm to people who may or may not deserve it.  We don’t have the answer to this, it’s really up to you and your own personal beliefs.

Science!

A major takeaway from this campaign is how science can be used in advertising.  It’s likely that this whole project would have been far less interesting if they had simply taken photographs of people caught in the act of littering.  It really stands out because of the amazing science that many people didn’t realize was possible, but then it was the perfect chance to convey the message once it had everyone’s attention.

How far will your advertising go?

Have you ever done anything similar to get your message across?  You don’t necessarily have to be so aggressive with your advertising tactics, but this doesn’t change the fact that pulling stunts like this will get you talked about.  So, don’t be afraid to push the limits, but make sure you’re thinking about your image as a whole before you do anything too crazy.

If you’re not sure how to do this on your own, just give us a call.  We’re ready to hear your ideas!

Billboard Reads Emotions

A Billboard that Reads your Emotions

You’re being watched…

We all know that the day would come that robots would invade our world, but it looks like science fiction was being overly dramatic in a lot of the horror stories.  They never mentioned how profitable the robots would be.

That’s right, we live in a world where billboards are thinking.  They can read you, decide what you’re thinking, and give you the best possible ad.  From there, all you can do is grab your credit card.

Did you know this was an option for your business?

Billboard Reads Emotions

So, What is This Intelligent Billboard?

Billboards were installed in London last year as a test of the technology to see if it was possible for a computer to successfully design the perfect ad – on its own.  They had a digital display, and they had a camera inside to read the people looking at them.  The first step was to decide what sort of mood the person was in.  Then, depending on whether the viewer was happy, sad, or neutral, it would display a different version of the ad.  Afterward, it analyzed the responses to measure how successful the ad was.  Finally, it repeated the good ads and trashed the bad ones.

The Technology Inside

You might imagine that they developed some sort of incredibly advanced technology to make this happen, but that actually wasn’t the case.  This was put together by the M&C Saatchi Advertising Agency, and they were working with Clear Channel and Posterscope to make it happen.  The billboards just had a Microsoft Kinect camera inside, so they were really just using technology that had already been developed for playing video games.  Kinect is able to read people’s reactions, so it gets the job done.

Bahia:  The Coffee of the Future

Unfortunately, this whole campaign probably created a lot of angry customers.  For the experiment, the advertising agency decided against using a real brand, so they simply made one up.  The product was an instant coffee called Bahia, and it’s not the type of thing that usually draws a lot of attention.

The Evolution of the Ad

The billboard was only advertising the one brand, so it was fairly limited in what it showed.  It didn’t promote sports cars to one person, laundry detergent to the next, and allergy medicine to a third.  Instead, it was programmed to use a series of different fonts, colors, and styles to see how different people reacted to the plea to buy coffee.

Why Spying on Your Customers Works

While the first instinct of many is that this whole idea is kind of creepy, it can actually work to improve everyone’s life.  If you remember that the main goal of advertising is to let people know about products or services they want, then this just helps eliminate all the noise on the street.  Instead of wasting your time, these smart billboards were able to show people what they wanted to see.  Also, since it measured reactions to see what people liked and didn’t like, and it can help make higher quality advertising in the future.  It’s basically like having a focus group that’s composed of, well, everyone.

Why the Internet Isn’t As Important as We Think

The internet has become a great place for businesses because it makes it possible to measure things in a way that has never even been remotely possible.  A lot of companies have been using it as an excuse to steer away from more traditional forms of advertising media, but this could put a stop to that pattern.  Internet browsing history is a great way to build a profile of your customer, but nothing beats walking around town with them and asking them their opinions.  If this technology can be in a few bus stops in London, it might not be long before it’s all over the globe.

This Campaign Doesn’t Invade Your Privacy

One nice feature about this little experiment is that it was designed in a way that wouldn’t let it cause any invasion of privacy.  It didn’t follow the standard internet strategy of storing all your information.  Even if it did, it wouldn’t make a huge difference because it never actually knew who it was looking at.

Time for You to Do the Same

Do you use similar techniques in your business?  Even if you don’t want to go to such extreme measures as this campaign did, are you taking advantage of modern advertising strategies? The marriage of technology and traditional advertising is a key relationship in influencing consumers.