Taking Digital Experiences Beyond the PC

Out of Home Can Create Deep Connections Too

By Published on .

Mat Zucker
Mat Zucker
Required big-screen experiences at concerts. Shoppers becoming familiar with in-store kiosks. Digital signage offering text to win.

Perhaps I just need a break from reading and talking about Facebook and Twitter, but I'm getting more interested in the potential connections of digital environmental experiences and how brands can use them as more than just a one-off in a shopping mall, an SMS-driven promotion or -- don't hate me -- yet another big idea for Times Square.

Won, one of our top developers, reminded me that "people are used to being attracted by big screens. Men, after all, are obsessed with wide-screen home theater." The difference to me is that nowadays we want to not only witness but be a part of, enjoy and learn from experiences. It's becoming, um, useful.

Won had some examples for me to prove his point. Take last year's Philip Imagination Light Canvas, which helped make a hospital friendlier to kids.

And more recently, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung and Coca-Cola introduced a touch-screen vending machine.

There are also plenty of great examples of interactive storefronts and signs, though some are cool for a second but don't last and can't be easily replicated to make a big impact.

The thing is, on-brand creative ideas for these type of channels can be as hard to develop as figuring out where the money comes from to pull it off. Does the idea come from traditional out of home or from digital marketing? Is this the turf of the digital agency or the traditional agency? The latter is easy to figure out (best idea wins) but the money challenge could paralyze a good idea and leave it in an awkward but well-meaning netherworld. Clients are encouraging about this problem, however, as the silos break down and digital work takes a bigger stage and, often, a lead.

These days, I think the best route is like the Samsung touch screen for Coke -- focus on digital environmental experiences that truly sell something.

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Mat Zucker is VP-executive creative director at Agency.com, where he leads a team of 30 creative directors, art directors, copywriters, information architects, designers and developers for clients British Airways, CIT, LG Electronics, Mars and Del Monte Foods. Previously, Mat was executive creative director at R/GA a senior partner and group creative director at OgilvyOne Worlddwide in New York.

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