Learning from a Near Miss in Interactive OOH

Like the monolith in the movie 2001, a digital out-of-home advertising display stands all alone in a large open space at Munich Airport in Germany. But this is no ordinary display. Players from the local Bayern Munich soccer team appear one after another on the life-size screen beckoning you to stand on a yellow spot marked on the floor a few meters in front of the display.

When someone accepts this invitation and stands on the spot a Kinetic sensor hidden underneath the screen detects this and switches the unit to an interactive exercise routine where the soccer player does some simple exercises and encourages you to do the same, through gestures and written messages in English and German. The game is part of Lufthansa’s "Fit to Fly" campaign.

If you perform the exercises well enough – that Kinetic sensor is watching you – the soccer player congratulates you and invites you to take a selfie with him. The soccer player moves to one side of the frame and a dotted outline appears next to him, showing where you should stand. A final message suggests that you should share your selfie with the campaign hashtag.

Production quality is good and the gamified exercise looks fun, but where the campaign stumbles is in engaging the public. Though the soccer players on the screen are continually beckoning people nearly everyone simply walks past it, like it didn’t exist.

In one hour of observation I saw just two people brave enough to try the interactivity. Both of them were clearly lukewarm about the exercises and neither appeared to understand how the selfie idea worked. They both stood on the yellow spot, smiling, evidently expecting the display unit to take the picture from a distance.

Most people just don’t notice the display at all. Every airport user I have asked about this answers “what display?”  They never saw it. And the people who did see it were probably too shy to try. Most people just don’t like to be the first person to try anything and they demand social proof that the activity is acceptable – especially when crowds of people are watching. If there is a lesson in this story it is that just building a neat interactive experience isn't enough. You also have to convince people to play.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching and Writing

If you'd like a lecture, workshop, coaching or writing about this or other communication topics you can contact Andrew Hennigan at speaker@andrewhennigan.com or 0046 73 089 44 75.


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