With billboards bolted onto nearly every available rooftop and facade, there is no better place to experiment with the future of outdoor advertising—and of interactive design—than New York's Times Square. These days, its 30 million annual visitors are helping create the ads.
BBC World News asked passersby to text-message votes on four provocative issues (avian flu: "imminent" or "preventable"). "When you see the number change based on your opinion, you feel like you're participating with the brand," says Ari Weiss, a creative director with BBDO, which created the campaign. The Beeb attracted 43,401 votes in its five-week run.
In Secret deodorant's "Share Your Secret" campaign, anyone can bare her soul on the big screen. Via text message and the Web, Secret is pulling in 150 to 250 submissions a day. As in, "I once ate raw sushi just to impress a guy on our first date. I HATE SUSHI." Thanks for sharing.
For an hour each weekday afternoon, Nationwide Mutual Insurance projected photos submitted to its "Life Comes at You Fast" Web site (cue the baby pictures).
"Creativity does not have to be driven by need. Innovation, on the other hand, is about creating a fit between a product and the people who will use it—a product people will pay to use." —Linda Ferguson, on the genesis of innovation
A version of this article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.