The Kansas City Chiefs are counting down the days to kickoff, and they're doing it through digital billboards.
"There's always anticipation in the air for the kickoff, and this campaign is designed to go along with that excitement," said John January, senior vice president-executive creative director with advertising agency Sullivan Higdon & Sink.
SHS, the agency of record for the Chiefs, has used traditional billboards in the past to promote the Chiefs brand, but this is a first for digital billboards.
The countdown promotion began July 28 and uses five digital billboards throughout the metro. It's not your typical numbers countdown, however.
These two billboards are part of Sullivan Higdon & Sink's effort to generate excitement for the season-opener, honoring the present —Jamaal Charles (top) — and the past — Jan Stenerud.
Each day, SHS changes the boards to feature a current or past Chiefs player whose jersey number corresponds with the number of days until kickoff. Four Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees will be included: Marcus Allen, Emmitt Thomas, Len Dawson and Jan Stenerud. Other players will include Deron Cherry, Christian Okoye and Jamaal Charles, to name a few.
"This is a unique way to both honor the tradition that the Chiefs bring to the city, but then also inspire the fans about where we are today," January said. "That's where the idea of mixing and matching the players from both the historic past and the exciting present came from."
As for the logistics of changing the boards every day, January said the hardest part was preparing the art; switching out the graphics for the boards is simple. Using new messages daily, instead of a static message, provides an avenue for engaging fans with the same billboard and building excitement for the new season, he said.
Another facet of the digital billboard campaign is using social media to create near real-time messages. This season, fans can post photos of themselves in Chiefs gear on social media with #redfriday for a chance to see their photo posted on a digital board.
"The Chiefs understand that the fans make this brand, and they want the fans to be a part of the brand," he said. "So, this is another opportunity where we can really recognize the fan and celebrate them for doing what they do, which is to be a part of the Chiefs kingdom and to really embrace the Kansas City Chiefs."