The LinkNYC kiosk deployment, a good foundational prototype for any city looking to get “smart” or “connected,” is back in the news again thanks to a collaborative effort involving the release of Avengers: Infinity War. In a first-of-its-kind campaign, more than 1,400 screens on approximately 700 of these public Wi-Fi stations implemented by Sidewalk Labs-backed company Intersection were taken over by Marvel and Disney on the comic book blockbuster’s premiere night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET. The displays featured favorite superhero characters in their element as well as the Avengers posing in group formation before urging Big Apple pedestrians to “See It Tonight.” The next day, the Links began featuring an integration with Moviefone to drive awareness, ticket sales and theater visits in addition to location-specific show listings and screening countdown clocks.
At this point, some of you out there may be wrinkling your brows and wondering if the movie that just shattered a slew of box-office records, including one for highest opening weekend previously held by the same studio’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, really needed any help with sales and marketing saturation. But, after catching up with Intersection’s Chief Strategy Officer Dave Etherington, Digital Signage Connection learned that this roll-out was really more about breaking new ground for LinkNYC’s use cases than it was about maximizing box-office impact for any one movie.
“Increasingly, Link is seen as a channel for information and entertainment,” said Etherington. “People are actively tuning into our content, which is roughly half the screen time, the other being for ads. This gives us a great platform to run innovative and utility-rich campaigns like the one for Avengers: Infinity War. Coupled with the vast deployment of Link, we have a brilliant opportunity to create water cooler moments in the city that virtually everyone will see. Disney and Marvel, with their agency OMD Entertainment, uniquely leveraged LinkNYC’s technology capabilities and physical impact to bring the campaign to life. Through Moviefone’s exclusive API integration, Link displayed show times for relevant theaters and brought the attributes of the movie experience directly to people on the streets.”
While the campaign is too new to share any representative engagement results or analytics, this hybrid approach of alternating entertainment, valuable Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) information and paid advertising spots seems to increasingly be the norm.
“We have several media and entertainment partners that are doing exciting things with our assets and looking to utilize DOOH to its fullest capability,” Etherington added. “More recently, we partnered with NBC Universal to promote the Winter Olympics in South Korea across our digital networks in Chicago, Philadelphia and on LinkNYC in New York by highlighting content such as video recaps, athlete spotlights and real-time medal counts. The regularly scheduled content on Links that people have come to love and expect remains the same, which in turn, makes the advertising more valuable, which funds the service, in a continuous and virtuous cycle. We will continue to see OOH woven into the fabric of these digital campaigns to engage and excite audiences in new ways.”