I anticipate a new advertising gimmick unfurled on Times Square yesterday will go national at the speed of light. Thompson Reuter linked its digital billboard to its web site, then invited people to upload photos of their mothers and accompanying greetings. These photos and greetings were then displayed on the billboard for five seconds apiece on Mother's Day. The company did not charge for this service, but is offering to sell photos of the display to those who uploaded the materials for $69 each.

The idea of posting individual messages on large billboards has been used to great profit in sports stadiums for some time, but the idea of integrating it with an online application dramatically expands the marketing possiblities. If I were Amazon, I'd be buying space on such billboards across the country, and offer my customers the chance to upload their portraits. Gee, to see my own picture overlooking the I-70/I-71 split, just for buying a couple of books...

Thanks to Advertising Age.

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