Coca-Cola created a Pong-like game for a Times Square billboard

‘The Playable Billboard,’ dreamed up by Grey, combines retro appeal with a modern twist

Published On
May 01, 2024
Photo of Coke's Pong-like billboard in Times Square

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Coca-Cola continues its run of frolicsome out-of-home advertising with “The Playable Billboard,” a recent activation in Times Square that invited passersby to sit down and play a giant version of the classic video game Pong on a 42-by-68-foot digital billboard.

Much like the “Magic Catch” billboards by Ogilvy Paris in Europe, “The Playable Billboard” was designed to give Gen Z a more engaging experience than a traditional OOH ad. Islam ElDessouky, Coke’s global VP of creative strategy and content, has said the brand is focused on having a better “value exchange” with its latest OOH work.

 

Fusing retro appeal with a tech-forward modern touch, “The Playable Billboard” was live for a single activation—on April 9 from 5 to 10 p.m. The brand repurposed Atari joysticks for the game and had sound effects coming from speakers embedded in the red Coca-Cola couch that gamers sat on to play.

Visitors to Times Square playing Coke's Playable Billboard

“Coca-Cola is an iconic brand, and Times Square is an iconic place. Turning the Coca-Cola billboard into a digital game for all to play in the center of the city is a fun way to bring people together, and an expression of the brand’s philosophy of Real Magic,” said Hope Nardini, global executive creative director at Grey.

Visitors to Times Square playing Coke's Playable Billboard

Other brands have done billboard Pong in the past—most memorably, McDonald’s Sweden in 2011. In that campaign, from DDB Stockholm, passersby could use their mobile phones as controllers, with no app download required, and players who lasted more than 30 seconds won coupons.