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Digital Signage and SMS

Billboards can be an effective medium, but tend to be very low in viewer engagement. Most outdoor advertising is designed to be viewed in a second or less as motorists whiz by. Here’s an example of how one advertiser turned that idea upside-down to create a fully interactive billboard.
As shown in the video, viewers can “start” the car by sending a text message from their mobile phone. I think this ad works at two levels. Most obviously, there’s the novelty of being able to make a billboard do something. Most outdoor ads are entirely static, and the fact that this one changes its status in response to a text message is startling and intriguing.

From a neuromarketing perspective, this billboard also conveys a subtle “ownership” message that might increase the probability of a sale. Research has shown that touching or holding an object can be enough to produce this effect. To me, it seems likely that “starting” the Honda in the billboard might well do the same. This isn’t as potent as, say, a salesperson handing you the keys to the real thing for a test drive, but certainly seems much better than looking at a mere picture of the car.


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