Times Square

Is this the best digital signage in the world?

Times Square, often referred to as the ‘crossroads of the world’, is the spiritual home of digital signage. Nowhere else on the planet can beat its size or reputation, and it’s up there with the most popular of New York’s tourist attractions. But standing out in this environment throws up its own challenges.

In Times Square you have wall to wall adverts, all vying for your attention, and all utilising the latest technologies to try and stay ahead of the competition. Whether it’s Serena Williams chasing a robot from one building to another, or the (in)famous Revlon ‘kiss cam’, you’d better have your A game ready if you want to get noticed.

This is something spectacular

And so it was, when Coca-Cola decided it was going to revamp its advert to coincide with 100 years of advertising in the heart of Manhattan. The company realised that it was going to take something spectacular to turn heads, and that’s exactly what it delivered.

Over six storeys, Coca-Cola has utilised 1,760 individually controlled LED screens to create a pulsating, 3D experience, in a world first that sets a new benchmark for digital signage.

“From the beginning, our brief was to create a pause-and-refresh moment in the crowded environment of Times Square,” said Kim Gnatt, group director, Business Strategy, Coca-Cola North America. “Our proprietary 3D technology brings our iconic brands to life in a unique and differentiated way that will hopefully catch people’s attention and make them want to engage for a longer period of time.”

Discover the digital signage that could help your business stand out from the crowd

To bring this new ad format to life, Coca-Cola has had to create its own solution, as there was no existing technology that could give them the effect they were looking for. So, in 2016 the company started developing the blueprint for what would eventually become the a 3D robotic sign (and thanks to the guys at Hackaday, who dug up the patents for the display, you can get a thorough overview of how the whole thing works).

Coca-Cola robotic sign LED cubes
Coca-Cola has utilised 1,760 individually controlled LED cubes to create a pulsating 3D experience

According to Coca-Cola, the 68ft by 42ft sign required “sophisticated engineering and rigorous testing for all weather conditions”, with almost 20 different technology, logistics and marketing partners  working on the build.

Each of the high-res LED cubes can be programmed to move independently, extending and retracting, offering up a host of new possibilities using texture and depth, and this has to go down as one of the most ambitious digital signage projects we’ve ever seen.

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