The modern billboard has been around since at least the 1790s when lithography was invented. The problem then was that billboards could not be produced in mass quantities fast enough to reach large numbers of people, and they didn’t hold up well in outdoor environments.
Later on, billboards were installed using paste to hang huge sheets of printed advertising above roadways, or they were painted on the sides of buildings and left in place for long periods of time.
It wasn’t until 2006, when Clear Channel introduced the first outdoor digital billboard, that industry had a truly dynamic and reliable tool that could be applied toward outdoor retail advertising solutions.
The global retail industry is expected to be worth more than $28 trillion by 2018. Most solution providers likely see the majority of their customers coming from the retail vertical. Many of those customers will, at some point, require an outdoor digital signage solution to promote their products, so studying which digital billboards resonate most with customers makes good sense.
These four digital billboards are great examples of effective, innovative solutions that your retail customers can use to promote and sell their products:
1. Harmon Corner
Measuring 60 feet tall by 306 feet long, the Harmon Corner digital billboard on the Las Vegas Strip is longer than a football field. Added to that, Harmon Corner is strategically placed near major hotels and casinos, where it is seen by more than 25 million passersby and more than 24 million vehicles that drive past the billboard each year. What could be more fitting for a digital billboard sitting above a 110,000-square-foot, three-story retail center?
2. Times Square
Located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue in the heart of New York City, Times Square is perhaps the granddaddy of all digital billboard locations, with its iconic look having been established decades before the digital age. Times Square today is a digital garden of LED billboard signage bright enough to light up the streets and sidewalks without the need for street lights. One recent addition is the digital billboard along the front of the Marriott Marquis hotel that runs the length of a football field and measures eight stories tall. Traffic in the area is estimated at more than 300,000 pedestrians and 115,000 vehicles daily.
3. Pick N’ Play in Stockholm
A recent McDonald’s campaign to boost sales in Stockholm, Sweden, resulted in marketers coming up with an idea for an outdoor interactive billboard that encouraged potential customers to play a game of ping pong for free food.
Players in the vicinity of the billboard use their smartphones to control the game. Those who last for more than 30 seconds get a coupon sent to their smartphone good for their favorite food item.
4. Digital Mobile Billboards
Who says digital billboards have to be tied down to one location? One U.S. manufacturer decided to take to the streets in cities like New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Boston; and San Francisco with a product called Mobile Video Cube: a four-sided, stadium-styled, mobile billboard placed atop an SUV. Think four-sided screens seen in NBA basketball arenas.
What makes this digital billboard really unique is that not only does it stand out on the street due to its height and four-sided design, but it can be deployed to high-traffic streets and neighborhoods when it’s most likely to be seen, typically during the evening, post-sunset.
Digital billboards are really starting to come of age as technological innovations improve their usefulness and size increases. And it’s only a matter of time before these incredibly effective retail marketing solutions find their way to unique locations beyond the traditional roadways of yesteryear.