Decoder ring melts trying to sort out CBS Outdoor DOOH release

(Update – CBS kindly sent some images … help … and provided more explanation … see further down in post)

This has all the piece in place to a great story heading into the holidays: big media company, consumer engagement with mobile, smart interactive screens and cool stuff like geo-fencing.

But in the hands of said big media company, CBS Outdoor, the announcement is a confused, information-light, cliche-heavy mess that has left my trusty press release decoder ring a melted ruin.

The most I can sort out – after repeated readings of this thing and not a single attempt by a media outlet, so far, to convert this from its native Martian – is that it has to do with downloading an app to a smartphone that then lets you have an “experience” with Intel’s new Smart TV technology in the rotunda area at New York’s Penn Station.

The release gives you some tortured hype like several Minority Report references, deeply important terms like (please use your deep voice here) “never before …”, and an opening paragraph that breaks the 100-word barrier and just keeps on going.

No images. No video. Only words, words and more words with the expectation that it will all make sense to people … at least those who got past the endless leading paragraph.

My point: This might actually be a good project and I’d happily write about it. But the release is so badly done I can’t figure out what all is involved, and why I should care. The absence of any supporting images or video that would help quickly tell the story, is just plain nutty.

I often say the worst companies at doing this basic PR stuff are the biggest companies. Yet another exhibit. Good on Location Labs and Four Winds for their work, but it will take their own PR efforts to help clients understand what was done and what it means.

UPDATE: Note from Alvaro Muir, Vice President, Digital Media, CBS Outdoor

With our partners, we were able to deploy a personalized, targeted recognition system that did not rely on physical input or visual cues to give consumers a interactive sneak-peak at Intel’s new Smart TV product.

The CBS Outdoor Interactive Consumer Application (or ICE App) relied on geo-fencing triggered by a downloadable smartphone app which prompted the customer about their TV preferences. Once said customer crossed into our geographically defined area, the displays then greeted the consumer by name and led them through a personalized interactive experience introducing them to Intel’s new service.

Better …

The release:

CBS Outdoor Launches Innovative Out-of-home ‘Minority Report’ Campaign for Intel Smart TV

FIRST OF ITS KIND CAMPAIGN USES MOBILE APPS, TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAYS AND WILL RECOGNIZE CONSUMERS BY NAME CREATING A CUSTOMIZED INTEL SMART TV EXPERIENCE

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — CBS Outdoor, in collaboration with OMD, Outdoor Media Group and Tribal DDB Worldwide, announced today the launch of a first of its kind multi-media campaign, offering consumers their very own “Minority Report” experience in New York’s Penn Station. The media campaign for Intel’s smart TV, which seamlessly integrates robust Internet content, broadcast programming, personal content and downloadable applications all viewable on one TV screen, recently kicked off utilizing custom mobile applications, interactive flat screens and outdoor advertising media. The technology showcases the ability to recognize a consumer via an opt-in feature, welcome them by name and customize a smart TV experience based on the consumer’s preferences.

“This is a first for out-of-home media, and a look into the future on how we can connect to consumers on a far more personalized basis,” said Jodi Senese, executive vice president CBS Outdoor. “Never before have we been able to offer this kind of engagement, on this many platforms to our clients. Working with Intel and their agency partners, CBS Outdoor has crafted a truly unique promotion that offers users a one-of-a-kind experience – literally.”

The promotion started Nov. 29 with outdoor media throughout the New York market, encouraging consumers to download the smart TV mobile app by texting Hello to 64444. Participants will then receive a link to download an app onto their mobile phones, which will ask a few questions about the individual’s TV viewing habits and preferences. They will then be invited to Intel’s smart TV experience event in the Penn Station Rotunda Dec. 15-29. As they enter the experience a series of interactive touch screen TV’s will not only recognize them by name but create a custom smart TV experience based on the answers to the questions the individual provided when they downloaded the app.

The state of the art New York outdoor advertising campaign debuts a new concept to outdoor marketing – “geofencing,” which creates virtual boundaries by physical locations and places, this time being Penn Station. CBS Outdoor’s partner Location Labs is providing the geofencing technology.

“As the provider of the mobile location based technology behind the Intel smart TV application, we are excited to see our innovative Geofencing technology make this ‘minority report’ type experience a reality,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, founder and CEO, Location Labs. “The auto detecting capabilities of our technology is enabled when an individual enters the vicinity of Penn Station NYC and automatically helps to create a personalized billboard experience for that individual. We anticipate these kinds of futuristic campaigns to revolutionize the advertising and marketing industry.”

The interactive touchscreen experience is provided by CBS Outdoor’s partner Four Winds Interactive.

“Four Winds Interactive is happy to be working with CBS Outdoor and Intel on this groundbreaking ad campaign. It’s exciting to see their vision for the smart TV campaign utilizing our digital signage technology come to life on this big stage,” said Greg Newman, director of implementation, Four Winds Interactive. “The use of digital signage in an ad campaign of this magnitude is a testament to its place as a communication medium.”

If you comes across videos or images, or can offer some clarity on what this thing is and what it offers, by all means use the comments section …

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dave Haynes

@sixteennine

13-year-old blog & podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by consultant, analyst & BS filter Dave Haynes. DNA test - 90% Celt/10% Viking. 😏😜🍺
Agreed. Hat tip to the 5,500+ who filled the stands. One other thing: fix the crap audio. Sounds like Radio Voice… https://t.co/1BrAOBJ2SI - 12 hours ago
Dave Haynes

3 thoughts on “Decoder ring melts trying to sort out CBS Outdoor DOOH release”

  1. Hey Dave,

    This really is a cutting-edge execution. It is a shame that the press release muddled up some of the most innovative aspects of the deployment. The real secret sauce behind the project is the geo-targeting capabilities of Location Labs’ platform.

    Location Labs’ technology is embedded within the smartphone application. As CBS’ expanded explanation highlighted, the technology triggers a personalized experience once a user (with the app on his phone) enters into a preset geo-fenced area.

    What’s most interesting about the deployment is the intelligence of the Location Labs platform is embedded within the whole of the experience. There is a connection between the app, entering the defined geo-fenced area for the campaign, and the project’s interactive displays. The screens know when a specific user, identified by his name through information garnered through his smartphone, steps in front of one of the screens.

    *As long as you don’t mind, I think I’m going to include this comment within a blog post on DS Insights.

    The execution is an exciting one, but the application requirement limits the overall stickiness of the campaign. Location Labs is an exciting technology that would benefit from broader adoption across market-leading LBS applications.

    I am excited about the potential for integrating the technology with other digital signage, out-of-home platforms, and experience-based mobile applications. Screenreach would be a great partner for Location Labs.

Comments are closed.