Saturday, March 6, 2010

Behind the Curtain - who is running things?

I was reading Keith Kelsen's new book “Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage” and smiled when I found his discussion around a couple of interactive campaigns serviced by Unwired Appeal. I told this to a friend who in turn asked why UA wasn't mentioned as a service provider. I had to explain that UA operates somewhat like the Wizard in the "Wizard of Oz". Hidden away behind the curtain, pushing buttons and pulling levers, creating amazing sound and light shows for the audience.

The campaigns that Kelsen talks about are Verizon Wireless's “Droid Does Times Square” campaign and the BBC's “Develop a Point of View” SMS voting billboard. The truth is that there are often a number of agencies and service providers behind the scenes making these campaigns come to life. It got me thinking though, maybe I would go back to these campaigns and outline who put them together.

“Droid Does Times Square”
(YouTube video)
Running on the huge Reuters/Nasdaq signs in Times Square, this month-long campaign allowed Times Square visitors and internet viewers to control the signs with just their voice (promoting VZW's launch of the Droid and its voice-rec capabilities). Dial a toll-free number and in minutes you are telling the signs what to search for in the Times Square area with the results displayed on a 50' Google map. Pretty impressive. Oddly, there were only a few companies involved in this one:

  • Verizon Wireless: the brand
  • TimesSquare2 : Reuters/Nasdaq signs and creative
  • R/GA: digital sign technology
  • Unwired Appeal: front-end call-processing, SMS messaging
  • Akamai: live video streaming of Times Square

BBC “Develop a Point of View” SMS voting billboard
Check out Dan's post
for a full description of this one and how Glenn Beck helped get the word out. To the best of my recollection here are the companies that put this together:

  • BBC: the brand

  • BBDO: the agency
  • AtomicProps: sign installation, creative, project management, etc. - these guys really pulled the physical pieces together
  • Van Wagner: billboard real-estate, installation, and maintenance
  • Electric Display: digital counters installed in the billboard to tally vote counts
  • Unwired Appeal: SMS voting service, carrier connections, etc

Next....Intel's “Share Your Vision” campaign where there were more agencies and service providers than you could shake a stick at.

-Steve Nye


  1. Steve,

    Thanks for telling the rest of the story. I am always in awe of marvelous technology that allows great content to engage the viewer.


    Keith Kelsen
    "Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage - Content Strategies for the 5th Screen"

  2. Keith,

    Thanks for a great book. I highly recommend it.