Digital billboards show scores of college playoff games
By Toni Fitzgerald
Mar 23, 2011
When you’re putting together a billboard campaign for a sporting event, the obvious thing to do is include the date, times and network where the games are being shown.
That’s the way it was always done.
But with the emergence of digital boards, you can do a lot more. The billboard serves not only to tell people about the game but to keep them up to date on the game as it’s being played by posting live scores.
And so it is with an ongoing campaign for Turner Media Group promoting its coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournaments.
The network group had never aired March Madness before and wanted to inform viewers of its coverage. Because it had three different channels to promote games on, it wanted a unique approach that would stick in commuters’ heads.
Enter Lamar, the giant billboard company.
“Lamar Advertising has executed successful digital campaigns with sports scores streaming live from the NBA and MLB, so we pitched the concept to Turner Media Group,” says Ian Dallimore, Lamar’s digital strategist.
“Turner needed to let fans know that they could watch the first round coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on four networks (CBS, TNT, TruTV and TBS). Digital allowed Turner to not only showcase live scores but also change out the network logo based on the live scores that were showing on the digital billboards.”
Lamar chose 19 billboards across Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Dallas, all of them top-10 DMAs.
The billboards all have the same layout. On the left side is a large orange basketball with a bunch of words layered on top of it.
“NCAA” it says in blue, on top of “March Madness” in white. Then the logos of the three Turner Networks, as well as CBS, the other NCAA carrier, appear below.
The right side is the changeable part. Starting Feb. 28 and right up until the tourney began last week, the billboards carried a countdown of the hours and minutes before tipoff, which rotated with the words “Watch every game live.”
Once the games began, scores of every game taking place that day scrolled along the right-hand side of the billboard, along with the logo of whichever network was carrying the game, alerting drivers of where to tune in when they got home.
The campaign ends tomorrow.
“The feed that Turner provided was for live scores and network logos built specifically for this campaign,” says Dallimore. “However, we do have digital campaigns where we take the feeds directly from the brand or client’s web site.”
The campaign worked because it delivered useful information along with the ad message. The scores add a unique element to what would otherwise be just another billboard, and because of that the ad is more likely to stay in passersby’s minds.
Turner’s media blitz, which also included print, TV and other advertising, seems to have paid off. The tournament’s opening weekend scored the highest ratings in 17 years, according to Nielsen.