Out-of-home advertising has been changing a great deal in the last ten years.

Digital screens are now a fixture in most cities, big data is starting to make pricing fairer, and it won’t be long before day parting and perhaps, some day, one-to-one ads are served.

Add to that mix the interactive ad, which McDonald’s is getting stuck into at its most famous ad spot, above Eros in Piccadilly Square, London.

The concept is a website optimised for mobiles that allows one to create a character and then share it or download it. If one is near the Piccadilly screen, the character can be uploaded to ‘Little Piccadilly’ and virtually Lord it over the square.

In this post you can see some imagery from the campaign and I postulate what interactive ads might mean for engagement and content.

‘Little Piccadilly’ is the world's first digital advertising screen to be fully interactive 24/7, 365 days a year.

As people pass by the McDonald’s screen, they will be invited to create their own animated character and send it directly to the Piccadilly screen via their smartphone, or share it via social media if they aren't in the square.

The imagery changes depending on seasonality, time and weather conditions.

interactive mcdonald's ad piccadilly square

                little picca website       

One would expect this already popular tourist spot to enjoy increased engagement, especially from younger audiences keen to create their own characters.

McDonald’s plans to continue the interactivity and roll out games and message boards on the screen in the future. It’s interesting to speculate just how much interactivity will increase brand recall.

NFC and Bluetooth location-based campaigns have had a stuttering start in out-of-home as many are unconvinced the value exchange advertisers offer is great enough to attract passing consumers or even event attendees.

Perhaps interactivity is a better entry point to get consumers used to interacting with OOH media? Once a younger generation is used to pushing their own content to screens or playing a game with them, they may very well start taking offers and content from touchpoints, too.

Will this mean a content race, much like we’ve seen in marketing online, with brands keen to offer richer and more valuable interactivity and content through OOH ads?


McDonald’s UK director of marketing Nathalie Pomroy said:

Little Piccadilly is the next step in McDonald’s digital journey, allowing people to interact with this iconic landmark in a unique and exciting way. We hope that passers-by will enjoy the fun interactive elements of this, creating their very own Little Piccadilly resident for all to see.  

We have embraced recent innovations in the digital media field, and as new trends develop and as the interactive media industry reaches maturity, we will continue to look for innovative ways to communicate with our customers. 

Ben Davis

Published 25 March, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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