Leo Burnett Creates Award-Winning Billboard Campaign With PubNub

digital billboardAlong the same lines as the McDonald’s Save the Sundae campaign, Leo Burnett and the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia built an iOS and Android interactive digital billboard campaign called “Be a Hero.” The campaign enabled the audience in the crowded Bukit Bintang shopping center in Kuala Lumpur to use their iOS or Android devices to interact with a digital billboard in realtime.

For “Be a Hero”, the audience was asked to use their mobile devices to access a website where they can virtually release a turtle hatchling out to the sea. The participants were shown the hatchling crawling on the beach on their mobile device, and the ending sequence when the hatchling reached the sea was shown on the digital billboard, along with their hero moment: a personalized shout-out using the Facebook name and profile picture we obtained from social login when the participant first entered the site.

The Need for Realtime Speed

PubNub Data Streams was used to broadcast queue information and trigger the call-to-action for the user to look up to the screen as his or her thank you message appeared. The Leo Burnett development team needed a way to orchestrate the multi-screen experience for the participants to make the transition from the device to the billboard seamless. Because the real-life turtle hatchlings that were filmed for the ending sequence were moving very quickly, it was easy for the audience to miss them if they were a couple seconds late to look up from their device. Realtime speed was essential.

It was important to keep our audience engaged at all times and not have them put away their device to wait for the billboard to show their names, thereby missing the key donation drive message at the end which was important for our client’s cause,” said Reza Rosli, technologist at Leo Burnett.

digital billboard

Realtime Bidirectional Digital Billboard Communication

PubNub Data Streams was used to maintain a consistent, bidirectional communication layer between the digital billboard and users’ iOS and Android devices. The information was used to calculate the waiting time and displayed as contextually appropriate messages on the devices (e.g. “10 meters to go”).

The end sequence on the digital billboard was triggered only after the signal was received that the crawl sequence has ended, and each participant was notified to look up to the billboard as soon as his or her personalized end sequence started.

“The synchronous real-time communication capability provided by PubNub made this possible, where latencies from asynchronous communications (i.e. AJAX polling) would have introduced unacceptable delays and complicated our queue management strategy. With PubNub, we were always confident there would be no lags, which would cause our audience to miss their hero moment on the billboard,” said Rosli.

Realtime Analytics and Remote Control for Digital Billboard

From an administrative stand point, PubNub was used to transmit and display usage information in realtime to their web-based management console. This enabled Leo Burnett to collect information and statistics like number of participants and number of turtles saved. Additionally, because they didn’t have direct control of the digital billboard application once installed, the development team could use PubNub for a number of remote control commands while the campaign was running.


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