Love Branded in Times Square NYC

TIMES SQUARE HEART WALK 2A client that spends absolutely zero dollars on paid for advertising anywhere in the US wanted to know my opinion on a special “deal” they received for a Times Square G-Tron (digital billboard) opportunity the other day. He received a “discount” offer for $75K USD for 15/30 second spots from Light Years Media.
The offer was for four (4) spots per hour, 96 spots per day a total of 35,040 annual spot package. The package included the video creative (with whatever my client already had prepared, which is basically a logo and product shots, and maybe a lifestyle image or two).
Yes, Times Square is a busy place and the “deal” price for a year-long campaign is sane enough, especially to be seen in a major commercial intersection between Broadway and Seventh Avenues and 42nd and 47th streets where 1.5 million people pass through each day.

The Geoffrey Tron Screen (the G-Tron) marketing collateral claims that 4.7 billion retail sales are generated annually.  Now that sounds amazing, but is it the brand on the screen that generates that revenue or every single store, restaurant, and retailer in the Times Square collectively? Very confusing and perhaps a bit misleading for my client.

While this type of marketing may seem enticing, it is important to understand that this is really about branding – getting your name out there – without expecting any real measurable data. Sure 1.5 million people per day is fantastic, but are these your people? Your customers?

Other “facts” claimed in the PDF sent to my client –
– 547.5 million people pass through Times Square each year
– 10 million viewers see live shots of Times Square on national TV each year (yeah, for a quick one second scan)
– 9 million visitors annually (once again, are these tourists your target market?)

What intrigued me even more were the little known Times Square Annual events listed in their brochure –

The Times Square “Kiss In” – which evidentially takes place every five (5) years on the anniversary marking the end of World War II

Taste of Times Square – in June is an outdoor food festival with top restaurants and the city street performers

Valentine’s Day renewal of vows which is free to everyone

The June Solstice – a gathering to find peace and tranquility (okay I can’t stop laughing) in Times Square.

A run through of NY’s Finest on St. Patrick’s Day. Enough said.

And a preview of the Best of Broadway performances – free in September.

Oh and then there’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Good Riddance” Day on December 28th in Times Square complete with a mobile shredding truck and of course New Year’s Eve for the big ball drop.

My client was rightfully concerned that their brand did not have distribution or key brand messages to support something with this type of exposure. I also recommended we cover the basics first with a more customer-centric approach.

He believed that in general this type of thing – slamming $75K down on a digital billboard – works better for a known brand to continue top of mind messaging. Agreed.

Photo in today’s post – the “heart walk” in Times Square reconstructed out of boardwalk debris left over by Hurricane Sandy.

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