A Poor UGC Experience For Prius

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

Last week, the agency that handles the 2010 Toyota Prius integrated marketing campaign ‘Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine‘ ran a gimmick on the Reuters Screen in Times Square.

Leveraging a very cool iPhone app – “aptly” named The Prius Experience App, the agency thought up a way for people to ‘interact’ or ‘co-create’ with the brand by drawing something (like a tree) on the iPhone, which would then be submitted – and eventually played back as part of the content loop on Reuters’ LED Spectacular in Times Square.

The campaign had all the ingredients of a well integrated customer experience; a website, mobile website, an iPhone app that uses the accelerometer for gameplay, an out of home billboard and facebook page a little something for everyone then, Ed.

But, if you take a deeper look at all of these well thought-through experiences, it will be apparent to you – that the agency didn’t put the same amount of thought into the DOOH experience.

I’m sure they saw the value of buying time in Times Square for the event, but the interaction payoff between iPhone and sign leaves a lot to be desired.

Here’s why:

  1. You had to draw in one contiguous line, so the drawings ended up looking like a 4 year old drew all over the nicely produced Prius ad. The iPhone can easily support a more natural way of sketching.
  2. When you need to hire someone to stand around on the street to tutor people on how to use an iphone app that’s a big warning sign that this isn’t the most intuitive experience.
  3. The payoff was anti-climactic. (except for the bigness of it all) it wasn’t really that spectular – not to mention that you have no idea when or IF the “art” you created was going to play. Most New Yorker’s aren’t going to wait around Times Square for too long-granted, if your a tourist, then maybe you’ll wait…

I’m all for creating interactive experiences in Times Square, but this event is a sad reminder of how some agencies continue to treat DOOH as an afterthought to their 360 campaigns.

But hey let’s end this post on a good note – Check out how the people at Megaphone engineer an interactive DOOH event, they’ve really figured out how to keep the crowds in the square happy.

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