It’s not just that billboards — those static and fading printed signs along highways — have evolved into digital displays within an increasingly programmatic ad ecosystem.
It’s that they — and their digital display cousins in city squares, bus stops, airports and elsewhere — have turned into an interactive platform.
A new project from National Geographic and Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) is the latest sign.
On Endangered Species Day (May 19), several digital billboards in New York City’s Times Square participated in a one-hour event where members of the public could take a selfie with an image of an endangered animal (displayed as photos at street level) and then post it to the hashtag #SaveTogether on Twitter and Instagram. Using a moderation system, the event organizers then selected 175 selfies for projection on the participating billboards (see image above).
The animal images were supplied by Nat Geo’s Photo Ark project, which seeks to document all the species in the world’s zoos and sanctuaries in order to encourage conversation. Twenty-five of the 6,500 species photographed so far are used in this project, including the Florida panther, the Golden Snub-nosed monkey and the Malayan tiger.
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