Ask the Board – January 9, 2017 | PAOLO TOSOLINI


What should be kept in mind when implementing a social media component for your digital signage network?”

Whether you are walking in Times Square or you just engaged with an interactive kiosk, social media calls to action abound on digital signage networks. After all, what better way to spread a brand name than organic word of mouth?

I was recently in Piccadilly Circus in London with my family. The square was crowded with people as it’s a popular meeting point. Huge LCD signs were blasting all sorts of colored messages upon us. Piccadilly Circus receives two million weekly visitors by foot or by vehicle. My 13-year-old son spotted the advertising by Hyundai, which invited people to upload their photo from their mobile, and if selected, they would become part of an ‘Elf Yourself’ like show on the big screen (do you remember What a powerful way to create fun, personalized dynamic content that can be shared instantly with your followers.

My son tried to upload his selfie multiple times with no luck, only to discover that the faces on the looping advertisement never really changed. The four carefully selected actors were representative of a diverse, young and good-looking population, but the social media opportunity, in my opinion, was lost.

This episode made me think about a series of technical and business considerations:

  • The selection process of crowd-sourced photos can’t be fully automated, so you need a 24/7 staff to constantly curate what’s being uploaded.
  • There are privacy implications with photos, but they can be addressed with proper terms of use upon submission time.
  • The likelihood of people posting a photo / video of the ad is very high, because:
    • They can’t wait to let their friends know that they were in a cool spot in London
    • They got their moment of glory on a big screen with thousands of eyes watching it
    • They control the message as the capturing and sharing of the photo video happens right on their devices
  • The show time must be short enough so any video recording of it will fit in all social networks
  • Foreign visitors will likely postpone the sharing until they get to a Wi-Fi location
  • A hashtag may be helpful (I didn’t notice any in this case)

Aside from the half-baked execution, the above campaign had every reason to succeed. On the contrary, I have my reservations when social media is being proposed on interactive kiosks, usually in photo booths, where I’m prompted to enter my credentials to complete the posting. I can trust an ATM with my PIN, but I don’t have the same level of trust with a digital signage kiosk (it could be a generation issue). In that case, the best alternative is to send the photo to the user (via MMS or email) and let them post it from their device.

In summary, creating the content opportunity is key, but enabling the user to take ownership of the content and control its destiny on his or her own terms, is what will seal the deal.



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Tosolini Productions

Advertising & Brand Council

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