The billboard is getting a makeover these days, as marketers get smarter about using the ultimate outdoor advertising vehicle to encourage more interaction with branded content. CBS recently launched a billboard campaign in Grand Central Terminal train station in New York to promote several new shows in their fall lineup: "Shark," "Smith," "Jericho" and "The Class" — and their top hit "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" as well. Passers by are asked to opt in as they walk past the billboard to download video trailers for the programs during their daily commutes. A Bluetooth billboard also made an appearance recently in Toronto subways as part of a promotion for the Lord of the Rings musical offering consumers the chance to download ringtones of tunes from the show. Unlike the earlier Land Rover promotion which I posted about earlier this year – this campaign uses the unique advantages of bluetooth technology to connect with a captive audience in a time and place when they are likely to be open to receiving content. As Rafat from PaidContent notes, this technology has become very popular in Europe, where some agencies like JCDecaux are launching dedicated services and Proximity Marketing has trademarked the term "bluecasting."
With converging groups of marketers all seeing the promise in using these Bluetooth billboards to offer a more interactive advertising experience … this will offer promising opportunities for more than just entertainment marketers. For example, due to the ability to deliver content without needing an internet connection, media properties such as the CNN can offer daily headline downloads, sports scores or weather. Mapquest could offer walking directions from a subway location to a predefined tourism hotspot. Indeed, it is travel marketers that may find the strongest opportunities in this technology to offer extended content, from expert commentary to documentaries designed to help you learn more about the places you are physically travelling to. Perhaps there is an interesting link here between bluecasting and the mission of Semapedia to use printed out bar codes to connect the knowledge of Wikipedia to physical locations. In any case, for media planners and marketers looking for a great way to mix interactive advertising with outdoor media placements, bluetooth and placecasting is bound to offer many opportunities for innovation and lots of interesting case studies to talk about in months to come.