Installation of the Week: LinkNYC Arrives

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New York City continues to blaze trails as the long-awaited LinkNYC out-of-home campaign launches.  Announced by the mayor’s office in 2014 as a way to wire the Big Apple up with free Wi-Fi service by converting more than 7,500 old payphones into hotspots, the first 16 LinkNYC kiosks are now installed on Third Avenue from 14 Street to 45 Street. This development brings high-speed Wi-Fi and countless opportunities for digital interactivity.

Seeing the potential and jumping on the proverbial bandwagon, MillerCoors and Shazam have combined forces to run the first LinkNYC kiosk program, which will last for about a month. People who opt into the network can like songs on Shazam and see them organized into hyper-local real-time playlists that are updated every 15 minutes in the areas around the kiosks.

As the picture below illustrates, these 10-foot-tall monoliths represent a few different kinds of crossroads: out-of-home (OOH) and mobile advertising; beacons and display; public policy and private sector innovation; LED screens and places in New York other than Times Square. And, as Ben Frederick wrote in his original article on the subject for MediaPost.com, one of the most innovative and memorable aspects of the project is that it’s going to pay for itself…with advertising from other megabrands of course.

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“We don’t think of Links as an advertising platform as the first thing,” said Dave Etherington, chief strategy officer at Intersection, the company that manages LinkNYC. “We think of them as vital services and products that we need every day, that are funded by advertising.”

Aside from the cultural implications, “There’s some really interesting data to be collected and distributed within the platform,” says Scott Varland, creative director at IPG Media, the agency that developed the campaign’s concept. The kiosks all know exactly where they are, providing accurate location data, but the data collected will not be sold to third parties.

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