The iconic electronic billboards of Piccadilly Circus were switched back on this week, with technology that allows different creative content to be displayed in relation to the environment.
The billboards were switched off last year for the hi-tech upgrade and new single screen – with 11million pixels – replaces the old six screen layout and is the largest of its kind in Europe.
It means advertisers can buy a full-screen slot that’ll take over the entire wall. From the relaunch, a single brand will take over the screen every 10 minutes for a 30 second ad.
The technology aims to deliver more relevant content to people based on the surroundings and environmental factors. For example, if the temperature was below a certain level it could advertise winter clothes as opposed to summer ones. This kind of technology is already used in many retail and advertising environments.
The technology does not collect or store any personal data and is unable to record images or audio.
Coca-Cola, Samsung, Hyundai, L’Oréal Paris, eBay, Hunter and Stella McCartney are now advertising on the newly-launched screen, which is managed by Ocean Outdoor.
The countdown and launch moment was streamed live across Facebook and YouTube, and the launch display will be repeated on the screens a number of times until 11.59pm on Friday 27th October. It can also be viewed here.
View examples of ads running on the billboard below:
An estimated 100 million people pass through Piccadilly Circus every year, according to Landsec which operates the screens, making it one of the world’s most prime advertising spaces.
Vasiliki Arvaniti, Portfolio Director at Landsec, said: “The Piccadilly Lights have been one of London’s icons for over a century, and are an unmissable sight for the 100 million people who pass through Piccadilly Circus every year. We know people have really missed the screen while renovation work has been carried out and both we, and the brands that light up the screen, are incredibly excited to have switched the Lights back on today. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has been part of the #PiccadillyOn campaign, raising money for Barnardo’s.”
Ocean Outdoor chief executive officer Tim Bleakley said: “Piccadilly Lights is one of the world’s most responsive, feature-rich advertising displays. Today is a major milestone in the history of Piccadilly Lights and to mark it we have a superb line-up of iconic global brands across six categories ready to exercise its creativity.”
Outdoor marketing a ‘safe haven’ for advertisers
With the Piccadilly Billboard lights back Daniel Fisher, Managing Director, Europe at Playbuzz, comments on on what the ad industry should know
“If Gold Bullion and Government Bonds are the safe haven investments in times of financial turbulence then TV, Radio and Outdoor advertising are the go-to safe havens in time of advertising uncertainty,” Fisher said.
“It’s no secret that H1 was tough for the UK advertising industry as geo-political insecurities continue. It is accordingly not surprising that investing in the ‘safe as houses’ (hopefully we won’t regret that term as interest rates rise) prime outdoor Piccadilly Circus billboards has been greeted with enthusiasm by advertisers. It is good to see that the world famous screens Piccadilly have, however, embraced and understood that in order to give advertisers value for money they need to engage users. I’m looking forward to the lights going back on and seeing what these new screens can do.”
History of Piccadilly Lights
• An estimated 100 million people pass through Piccadilly Circus each year
• The first illuminated advertising hoarding at Piccadilly Circus was a Perrier sign, installed in 1908
• Piccadilly Circus used to be entirely surrounded by illuminated advertising signs which were originally powered by light bulbs, later replaced by neon lights
• Digital projectors were first introduced in 1998
• LED displays completely replaced neon by 2011
• Coca-Cola has had a sign at Piccadilly Circus since 1954
• Landsec has owned Piccadilly Lights since the 1968.
New screen details
• 17.56m high x 44.62m wide (circ 780m2)
• Greater than 4K Resolution: 5490 x 2160
• 3 in 1 LED packages that generates trillions of colours and exceptional brightness
• 8mm pitch screen