From New York: Revlon Embraces DOOH in Times Square

A new monthly thought piece from our Chief Operating Officer, Ben Putland, in our New York office.

I’ve been in New York for ten months now and visit Times Square every few weeks to see what’s running on the hundreds of screens, in one of the only places in the world people come to photograph ads. I’m always looking for something that cuts through the visual clutter and engages people. Given the cost of advertising on these screens, it’s really important that the creative engages the consumer in some way and the brand gets maximum value from their media spend. Getting engagement right is a bigger challenge than you might think, and  the Revlon campaign is one that really stands out from the crowd…

I was lucky enough to witness the launch of the Revlon #LoveIsOn campaign on a very cold night in December 2014, there was a huge crowd of people waiting with anticipation as the countdown on screen reached zero. The event had a stage, entertainment  and experiential teams giving out samples. This was definitely a six figure budget to kick off the new Revlon campaign.

Fast forward to January 2015 and I’m walking through Times Square, it’s well below zero and the wind chill is painfully cold and I notice a big crowd gathered below the screen running the Revlon campaign. The crowd is bigger than any other in the area other than where people naturally congregate but given the temperature I was impressed.

The Selfie Phenomenon

Now I’m not a fan of the selfie, but it seems that this trend has got the world self portrait crazy. Riding the wave of popular trends is something advertising is great at and the activation on the screen helps make this craze even more prolific.

I’m a firm believer in delivering activations that use tools and methods that consumers are most comfortable with and by using the Selfie craze, this Revlon campaign executes it perfectly. Consumers can tag photos with #LoveIsOn, and after some moderation those images appear on the screen.

But here’s the super simple thing that has everyone stood waiting in the cold, a camera is mounted above the screen, it zooms in on the crowd below, a heart shape appears and zooms in  on a lucky couple in the middle of the crowd. Needless to say a lot of people are taking photos of themselves on the screen, and this is drawing in the crowds on a cold January day. If the Revlon marque was on screen as well as #LoveIsOn hashtag they could have squeezed a little more value out of this campaign. This is bar far the most popular thing happening in Times Square right now and is drawing  far bigger crowds than all of the other campaigns running… and there are some big ones!

For me good digital needs to be either useful or entertaining and this falls firmly with the latter.

Ben Putland
COO, Grand Visual, New York