I’ve been seeing a lot of billboards that use tech in innovative ways, so I decided to pull together a roundup.
Child Abuse PSA Delivers Encrypted Message Only Kids Can See
I love this campaign because it’s a brilliant use of technology. Most of the campaigns on PSFK’s roundup of most innovative ad campaigns of the year use new, flashy technology, like Moto X’s magazine ads in which the phone changes colors at the press of a button. This is a simple technology that’s been around for decades, but they re-imagined it for a new use - and one that could really make a difference. This is the kind of innovation that impresses me most: not an advance in technology but rather something that’s so simple it’s genius.
The Spanish organisation ANAR has recently released an ad campaign that can only be seen by the children suffering from abuse – without alerting their abusers in the process.
Using a technique called lenticular printing – which is also used for 3D posters – the foundation has created a poster that displays different images depending on the angle it is viewed from.
So, for anyone over 4’5″ they see a poster with a normal child and a slogan that reads “sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.”
When viewed from the height of an average 10-year old boy however, the image is a child with brusies on their face, a hotline number and the message, “if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you”
IKEA’s Space-Saving RGB Billboard
German ad agency Thjnk and production studio I Made This teamed up to create Ikea’s “RGB billboard,” which—much like Ikea furniture itself—makes the most of some very limited space.
The board features three different headlines superimposed on each other in different colors—cyan, magenta and yellow. At night, the board shines red, green and blue (RGB) lightbulbs on the board, revealing, in turn, the different headlines. Red bulbs illuminate the cyan text; green lights up magenta; and the blue-purple lights make yellow visible.
And that’s how you turn nine square meters of ad space into 27 square meters. It’s a delightful little visual trick that embodies Ikea’s space-saving message.
Response Hair Product Ad Shows Woman’s Hair Blowing in the Breeze When Trains Arrive
This fun digital subway ad in Sweden for hair-care products was rigged up to recognize when trains entered the station—and then showed a woman’s hair blowing all around, as though windswept by the train. It’s a simple, delightful effect—playful, responsive and seemingly magical in the way it erases the line between ad and environment.
Insecticide Billboard Ad Becomes Giant Bug Trap
Insecticide advertisements can be a little one note, but Italian ad agency Publicis Milan injected a little bit of fun into its campaign for outdoor insecticide Orphea, by turning a billboard in the Italian city into a massive sticky insect trap.
At its start, the billboard appeared to be just an image of the Orphea spray can, but as days passed bug after bug stuck to the billboard, in the shape of the spray emanating from the can. The trick? The advertisers applied transparent non-drying glue to the white paper, leaving little choice for the Milanese critters that landed on the board. The illusion that the insects are caught in the spray’s crosshairs is a clever way to promote the effectiveness of Orphea in open air situations.
Interactive billboards can occasionally encourage more socially beneficial behavior than playing giant games of Pong. Case in point—this clever installation at London’s Euston Station by JWT for the National Centre for Domestic Violence. The ad, which shows a man berating a woman, encourages passersby to visit a website on their mobile phones (or scan a QR code) and drag the man away. The series of connected digital boards works well with the message here, as the man is progressively removed further and further from his victim. Video here: http://youtu.be/EEKC-Yu-LeQ
The First Billboard in the World to Make Drinking Water out of Thin Air
What would a great ad for a university of technology be? An ad that itself solves a problem through technology. Trying to inspire young people to pursue careers in engineering, the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru decided to show how technology can be used to solve local problems.
One such problem in Lima is the lack of running water. Due to the extremely dry climate with an annual precipitation of less than 1 inch, most people draw water from wells that are often polluted. On the other hand, the atmospheric humidity in Lima approximates 98%. Keeping the needs of their community in mind, and using the context to their advantage, the two teams combined creativity and know how to come up with the first billboard in the world that produces drinking water out of air.
The billboard works through a reverse osmosis system, capturing the air humidity, condensing and purifying the water, and filling it up in 20 lt. tanks. In 3 months the billboard has produced 9450 lt., making hundreds of families happy and eager to see similar systems in other towns.
Agency: Mayo DraftFCB
(Source: Big Think)
British Airways Billboards Interact With Their Planes Overhead
British Airways’ digital billboards use custom-built surveillance technology to detect planes flying overhead and change the current digital display to that of a child pointing at the plane. The billboards also display the plane’s flight number and route.
The ads are part of the airlines’ “Magic of Flying” campaign, which aims to remind people of how magical flying can be, especially from the eyes of a child. According to Abigail Comber, head of marketing at British Airways, the digital billboards are a first for the company and for UK advertising, too.
We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination. The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them.
We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.
Agency: Ogilvy 12th Floor