OoH: Prius Flowers, Digital Driver

Toyota plants big Prius flowerscapes next to California freeways
The 2010 Toyota Prius is being promoted with flowers—up to 180,000 of them, to be exact. The automaker is creating nine “harmony floralscapes.” The first, which used 20,000 flowers, was unveiled this week alongside the Pasadena Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Greenroad Media has found a way to recreate images using its “Living Pixel” technology and living flowers. In this case, what looks to be an orange Prius sits within a sun, using 60 feet of flowers. The floralscapes are required to be non-commercial in nature, so the designs are meant to capture the essence of Saatchi & Saatchi L.A.‘s “Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine” campaign for the Prius. Seven floralscapes, in a number of different designs, will be planted in L.A. Two will pop up in San Francisco. Only organic and reusable materials were used for the project, as well as non-potable water and solar electricity.

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Toyota devoted a chunk of its marketing budget for the 2010 Prius to experiments with non-traditional ways of using traditional media. The resulting programs have been more art installation with environmental and interconnectivity than “Buy Prius Now.”
Veronis Suhler Stevenson has become the latest to forecast a comparatively brisk future for out-of-home media, and for that much of the credit goes to digital. The increase in digital billboards, video advertising networks (VANs) and alternative ambient advertising, which is included in digital estimates, has driven much of the growth of the OOH industry the past few years, and it will continue to do so at least through 2013. The media investment banking firm forecasts that out-of-home ad revenue will post a 4.9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2008 to 2013, compared to a 3.3 percent decline for traditional advertising.
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Out of Home: Shepard Fairey, Culture Commentary, 20ft Colon

Artist Shepard Fairey has contributed to a new campaign from Lance Armstrong’s charity Livestrong. Armstrong’s ‘Livestrong: Hope Rides Again’ graphics announce “Defiance”, “Courage”, “Action” on the buildings in LA.
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Floyd Hayes sent this photo taken on Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn. Could this develop into the next big cultural meme for expressing our collective distaste for mediocrity everywhere? Meh. It certainly has a nice ring to it.
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In Times Square, a 20-foot-long colon
Yes, you read this right . In the advertising Mecca that is Times Square, it takes a lot to turn heads; in the most recent instance it was another body part, the colon. Bright red and pink, it’s a 20-foot-long, 8-foot high U-shaped colon that appeared in Times Square one day in late February. Passersby were invited to not only stare at it, which they did, but to walk through it. The colon, inflatable and portable, was put up by the Prevent Cancer Foundation to build awareness for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which is March, and then it’s off on a 12-city national tour for the Super Colon, as it’s called. Next week the exhibit will be in St. Louis, Portland, Ore., Philadelphia, Duarte, Calif., and Tampa.

times-square-colon

Photo by Brechtbug.

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Digital: OoH, Videovideo

‘Plough’-ing New Terrain
Health care and CPG giant Schering-Plough, in a shift from its usual emphasis on traditional marketing channels, reportedly is planning to spend as much as $10 million on an eight- to 12-week digital out-of-home campaign for sun care, foot care and upper respiratory treatment products. The effort, which reportedly is the largest single buy in the digital OOH category, will encompass 17 networks in nine types of venues, including health clubs, doctors’ offices, malls, golf courses and airports.

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Every retailer knows the importance of moving product, but online the idea may be taking on a whole new meaning. According to comScore, the number of online shoppers who watched retail videos grew 40% in a single year.

Renegade Air gardening in NYC

I came across this interesting extension of the “Guerilla Gardening” phenomenon. Any of us who live in NYC know its not always the ‘greenest’ place – at least when it comes to flora and fauna. Thats why I was intrigued by TODO Design’s proposal to take over New York City billboards and greenify them with living “air gardens”.

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Billboards (contend Inhabitat) are “designed as monological messages aimed at a target audience zipping past in cars in a defined direction, such as a one way street. As the flip sides of the billboards are not designed to market to a pedestrian or community scaled audience, often appearing as blight on the landscape. Garden Spots proposes to exploit them to provide gardens in the sky, a place for nature to take root and to provide relief to the community”. (Interestingly, New York is also notable for its spectacular billboards aimed equally at a pedestrian audience).

I think it is an excellent idea to use billboards as a way of reducing a City’s carbon footprint and beautifying it at the same time. I have suggested green billboards to clients on several occasions (notably Planet Green) so far without success!

Apparently these air gardens are designed around self-sustaining technologies with photovoltaic panels powering the automated drip irrigation system fed from the base of the billboard towers. As such, the gardens will require limited management once established and can be monitored in clusters from a centralized location via wireless technology.

I just hope they use drought-resistant plants …

Post Scriptum: Actually this reminds me of Leo Burnett’s growing lettuce billboard promoting McDonald’s venture into fresh salad meals. Having just won Gold at New York Festivals’ Innovative Advertising Awards, the billboard was carefully constructed with a horticulturalist/landscape architect, allowing the lettuce buds to bloom over time, gradually filling up the sign with beautiful, edible leaves.

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