OOH in all its resplendence
Noomi Mehta, Chairman, IOAA and Chairman of The Board, Selvel One Group recounts the experience at Times Square on the fateful 9/11, and the mesmerising DOOH displays that that caught his eye during his different visits there
The most vivid recollection of the power of OOH sadly enough, is inextricably entwined with one of the greatest tragedies faced by the modern world, caused and suffered by mankind -- the Terror Attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre on 9/11/2001. I was in New York at that time to attend a conference of the OAAA (then Outdoor Advertising Association of America). The conference was to be held at The Marriott Marquis on Times Square, the showpiece of OOH all across the globe. The giant screens kept repeating the scenes of the planes crashing into the towers and as the world held its breath the collapse of two of the largest and most recognisable buildings in the Capitalist World. The visuals were interrupted by messages appealing for calm and orderly evacuation of that part of the city. The facilities both shut and open were seamlessly described so that everyone knew exactly what was going on. That horror show brought out the power of our OOH medium, to mesmerise, to inform and seamlessly communicate with the world at large.
I have been to New York quite few times after that. Each time I am surprised to find more and more screens on display. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. There are giant screens, stand-alones, muti-screens in horizontal and/or vertical formats displayed like pieces of a giant jig-saw puzzle, all of them doing yeoman service for brands and advertisers. In fact, our last trip saw us staying at Times Square itself for a joint promotion done by WOO (formerly FEPE) and OAAA. Our room overlooked Times Square and the lounge area gave us a Box-Office view of the entire spectacle. The largest screen was at the Marriott Marquis itself, some 25,000sq ft of 10mm HD LED screen! It has a 75 degree viewing angle, is 8 stories high and covers an entire city block!
In a blockbuster release of its Galaxy S8 phone, Samsung took the Marriott screen and a number of unconnected screens at either side and all along the perimeter of Times Square. It showed a massive whale swimming on the screens, transferring the image seamlessly from screen to screen as it made its way around Times Square, slashing furiously on the largest screen as the audience stood spell bound. To make it even more exciting, VR glasses were distributed to watch the spectacle unfold in Artificial Reality! The bond between Brand and Buyers could not have been more forcefully built than with a lifetime experience thrown in for free. The video has since been forwarded and seen all over the world. Samsung through the screens in Times Square reached an audience all over the world. The effect spectacular, the result - Priceless!