Mobile projection billboards get Bluetooth connectivity

The Toronto company that was first to turn storefront windows into giant, transparent ads is now projecting virtual billboards wherever a client wishes. Optiadmedia is also ready to send messages to nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices and report to clients how many consumers opt to respond.

The newest high-tech wrinkle Toronto’s Optiadmedia is using to deliver marketers’ messages is virtual billboards, which exec Michael Dellios describes as ‘mobile projection capable of full-motion video, flash animation, still images and live-feed video.’ First to give this a whirl is Palm, which used the technology to reach business professionals during a three-week campaign in Toronto late last month.

Dellios tells MiC the client was so pleased with the estimated 88,000 impressions garnered during the campaign that they’ll be repeating the exercise for a four-week period beginning late this month, with tweaked creative.

Timed for when most office workers knock off for the day, the initiative took place on 11 week-day evenings in late December and illuminated 15 of the busiest locations in Toronto’s business district. Optiadmedia staff drove a vehicle with roof-mounted equipment to prominent office buildings and then – using recently perfected improvements to its formerly static projection capability – threw Palm’s message and logo onto the facades.

With creative from Young & Rubicam’s Toronto shop, the messaging featured an animated arrow pointing to a window with text saying ‘Spend less time in here’ – the implication being that using Palm devices allows people to work from anywhere.

Next up is the addition to the virtual billboards of Bluetooth technology. Dellios says Optiadmedia now has servers in its mobile projection vehicles that can simultaneously upload about 30 messages with images, video, audio or text-only, depending on a client’s needs. As consumers pass by the vehicle, the server will continuously scan for Bluetooth-enabled devices. Whenever they’re detected, the client’s message will be sent, and the consumer will be given the options of accepting or ignoring it. The server will then log how many people opted in and how many declined – giving Optiadmedia the ability to report the results to clients. No other company is using this combined technology in Canada so far, to Dellios’ knowledge.

As reported in MiC on Sept. 26, Optiadmedia previously sparked interest among marketers and their agencies by turning storefront windows into giant, transparent ads for whatever is being sold inside. Downtown Toronto’s Mini Cooper location was the first to give the technology a try, and Dellios says the results were so well received that his company’s projections are still animating the dealership’s front windows. Since then, Optiadmedia has done likewise for several other Toronto marketers including KPMG, Coors, Billabong, Nestings, Nike and Bauer. Meanwhile, they also took their projection techniques to stores and events in Montreal and Edmonton.

In the near future, Dellios says his company will be ‘aggressively moving on to the west coast’ to offer marketers its full message delivery portfolio. ‘We certainly want to get in on the (2010) Olympics and, in Vancouver, which has a lot of restrictions on outdoor advertising, our mobile projection should be a perfect fit.’