Coke Billboard Lets Users Play Giant Video Game in Times Square

Elsewhere, the brand shows off its can-do spirit

The biggest thing in video games? That would be Coca-Cola's playable Times Square billboard, measuring an impressive 42-by-68 feet.

With nearly 1,800 computerized LED modules, the installation recently lit up Midtown Manhattan, and Coke looks to adapt the experience for other markets.

Coca-Cola | Playable Billboard

"Engaging with a digitally absorbed Gen z audience on the streets is increasingly challenging. The onus is on brands to continually innovate and create an unmissable presence," says Islam ElDessouky, global vice president of creative strategy and content. "Our latest executions were focused on 'value exchange.' OOH is an accessible traditional medium and it's for everyone, just like Coca-Cola but what are people really experiencing from our brand when it's on the streets?"

Sore necks, perhaps, if you keep following the trajectory of that pixelated ball for too long.

WPP Open X, Grey N.Y. and Dubai Studios produced the project, which ties into brand iconography (bottles as paddles) and nostalgia (vintage gaming styles) on an impressive scale.

And while we're on the subject of recycling culture, a separate Coke effort—developed through Open X, led by Ogilvy N.Y.—crushes the brand's iconic cans and logo to illustrate its commitment to sustainability.

"The logo is so recognizable that people instantly know what they're looking at even when they see a version of it that looks like it has been 'crushed' as part of the recycling process," says Guillermo Vega, global creative network lead at Ogilvy.

The push includes billboards in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico plus videos and social content, touting Coke's pledge to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable by next year.

Coca-Cola | Recycle Me

Finally, Coke launched "Magic Catch" in Europe through Open X, led by Ogilvy Paris and Subvrsive.

Who wouldn't want to use their phones to "catch" a digitized Coke bottle as it zips across billboards? (Insert your snarky comment here.)

"The idea is based on a universal cultural behavior and breaks the boundaries that exist between physical, digital and social touch points," say Ogilvy creative directors Thibault Michal and Yann-Gaël Cobigo. "As it becomes increasingly difficult to grab the attention of Gen Z, it's great to have found a way to stand out in the visual jungles that our cities have become. With the ‘Magic Catch’ we want to make people stop, look up and have fun for a few minutes with our interactive billboard."

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