Times Square is a world famous tourist destination, and a remarkable number of visitors admit that they are there to witness the advertising—that the number and size of the digital billboards is one of the attractions of the area, helping to make it a legendary location worldwide.

The Times Square Alliance recently commissioned a survey of 2,000 visitors. According to the survey results(4):
• 80% of visitors said that the signs and advertisements are part of the destination’s appeal.
• Roughly 50% of those surveyed reported taking photographs of the signs themselves.
• 60% of guests answered that they had spent more than five minutes looking at the displays and ads.

A Brief History of Time’s Square
Times Square acquired its current name in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly completed Times Building (3), but it holds numerous distinctions—sometimes being referred to as “The Crossroads of the World.” (3) It is the center of the Broadway Theater District and one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections—drawing approximately 330,000 visitors each day. (3) So it’s no wonder that it holds records for the number and size of its digital billboards.

Lessons Learned from World-famous Advertising
1. Be the Biggest. Times Square is home to the largest screen in America, currently. The Marriot Marquis in Times Square is the 11th largest screen in the world. (5) Created by Mitsubishi Electric, it measures 393.7 by 77.7 feet, with 25,610 square feet of viewing area at 10,048 x 2,368 pixels. (5) The screen stands eight stories tall, and it is nearly the length of a football field—running the entire block length of 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway. (4) It contains nearly 24 million LED pixels, each with tiny red, blue and green lights which give it “higher resolution than even the best of today’s top-of-the-line television sets.” (4)
2. Be Entertaining. The history of Times Square billboards and ads is a microcosm of marketing genius. With so much at stake, advertisers have constantly pushed the limits. Some noteworthy examples include:
–  The iconic 30 x 100 foot Camel cigarette billboard that blew smoke rings. (2)
–  The 1991 Coca-Cola billboard, which enhanced its neon sign with a 3-D mechanical arm that moved the bottle cap and revealed a giant straw. (2)
3. Be an Informational and Commercial Hub. As the epicenter of NYC tourism and the Broadway theater industry, Times Square’s many digital billboards offer valuable opportunities for businesses and tourists alike. Not everyone travels with their itinerary set and pre-arranged tickets in hand. Some visitors prefer to be in the moment and see what interests them. Combined with news tickers such as the famous “zipper” that circles One Times Square, information is readily available for the viewing.
4. Be a “Must-see” Attraction. Times Square advertisers have discovered how important digital signage is for retailers. By building their various mega-signs and utilizing the latest LED technology, they are able to grab attention, even amongst the bustle. Advertisers feel that the signs contribute to the city’s excitement and have become an integral part of its culture. (4)
5. Be Big-time, Real-time Interactive. Although billboards are one of the oldest forms of advertising, digital screens are breathing new life into an old idea through social media, mobile components, and real-time interactions that allow remarkable opportunities such as broadcasting tourist photos, displaying guest tweets or messages on the ticker or offering customized, location-based content as guests walk by.

In conclusion, whether the size of your digital signage is ample or ASTOUNDING, guests need the right combination of INFORMATION and EXCITEMENT—the ideal foundation for ANY advertising!

SmartSource Rentals can configure a video wall display in any grid shape or size!

1. http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/new-york-attractions-times-square?cid=tradedoubler&ref=tolcaffsaletraded
2. http://www.timeout.com/newyork/attractions/times-square-signs-history
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square
4. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/business/media/times-squares-biggest-and-most-expensive-digital-billboard-is-set-to-shine-.html?_r=0
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_video_screens
6. http://www.timessquarenyc.org/advertising-sponsorships/digital-screens-billboards/index.aspx#.VUOWgpOhkxI