Media Perspective: Digital fly-posting could be on its way to walls near you
By Russell Davies, firstname.lastname@example.org, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 February 2010 12:00AM
I'm trying to write a presentation at the moment. It's for a friend who works for a media company. One of the big ones whose name you can never remember. Not that one, the other one.
He has set an interesting brief. He wants to help his co-workers prepare for the future. Not the big, scary, out-there future where we're all just brains in jars, but the threeto five-year future where most things are the same but the bits on the edge of the media budget are being spent on something slightly different.
He wants to know what those slightly different edges might be: the bits that were microsites a couple of years ago, or social media last year. What might they be in 2012 or so?
He's looking for five examples. And since it's going to take me a while to do it, I thought writing a little mini-series on each of them right here on these pages might be an efficient use of everyone's time. Don't worry, he'll get his money's worth - when I do it live, I'll add some pictures and handwaving.
Since I've already wasted some words with the intro, let's start with something we've discussed here before - the emergence of more and more public screens. We've all seen them on the Underground and in stations. We've all wondered whether there are better ways we can use them, but I think they're just the beginning - and might be the most exciting and controversial tool for years.
Have you thought, for instance, about the prospect of widespread guerrilla digital? You've probably seen those pico-projectors - they're about the size of a phone and they're getting cheaper every year. Superglue them to a car battery and a smartphone and stick them on top of a lamp-post and you've got the beginnings of a digital fly- posting business. An opportunity for you or another ethical dilemma?
Or have you seen the "banner" on top of the BT Tower counting down to the Olympics? It's as bright as 1,000 60W bulbs, it's visible from at least eight boroughs, it's got planning permission to be there until 2014. It's probably more architectural than promotional and it's also the beginning of something - of infrastructure as flexible communication. Not just carving your company name into the masonry of your building but of corporate offices that double as digital displays.
Putting the digital in public is going to be a big deal. It will have the capacity to delight and to annoy, to seduce and to irritate. We'll need to understand it legally, commercially, technically, ethically and quickly. In five years, it will be about way more than buying some posters. Are you ready for that? And for next week's exciting episode: 3D printing.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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