British Airways’ new billboard uses ‘digital wizardry’ to point to incoming flights

A new digital billboard for British Airways’ latest marketing campaign has been turning a few heads in London recently as the images on the display actually interact with what’s happening in the real world.

The billboard cleverly combines children’s fascination with just about any kind of flying object with many adults’ ever-present desire to drop everything and escape to somewhere slightly more exotic than wherever they are in any given moment.

Currently set up in two locations – including central London’s busy Piccadilly Circus intersection – the ad is grabbing the attention of onlookers with a neat little routine featuring a virtual kid who, distracted by the sound of a  real passenger plane passing overhead, stands up and points to it.

As he does so, the aircraft’s flight number and point of origin show up on the display, together with information such as ticket prices for its country of departure. It even displays the location’s temperature, information that could persuade many shivering in a currently cold London to make a beeline for the nearest travel agency.

The child is pointing to BA planes flying into London Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, with the information on the board accurate for the plane passing overhead.

According to BA, the high-tech billboard, the idea for which came from ad agency Ogilvy 12th Floor, uses a bit of “digital wizardry” involving custom-built surveillance technology.

Commenting on the airline’s marketing  campaign, BA’s Abigail Comber said, “We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination.

“The clever technology allows this advertisement to engage people there and then answer that question for them. We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.”

Provided the billboard doesn’t cause passing drivers to sail off the road in slack-jawed wonderment, we can imagine seeing variations of these context-aware ads appearing alongside other UK roads and intersections in the not-too-distant future.

[via The Drum]

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