Best Buy using digital signage in Times Square theater for brand engagement

April 27, 2012 | by Christopher Hall

The Best Buy Theater in New York City's Times Square brings in concert acts like Jay-Z and events like the Heisman Trophy ceremony — but it's using interactive digital signage to build engagement with the people those events bring to the venue.

Working with a Best Buy architect, Bloomington, Minn.-based MSSI helped design, spec and implement the digital deployments in the theater. Walking into the lobby, patrons are now greeted by a large six-by-three video wall, 20 feet across and displaying high definition content.

And the downstairs Best Buy lounge area features five interactive touchscreen displays — with Best Buy Loungeeach display having the ability to play an interactive video without losing the background branding, utilizing a proprietary transparent flash and video layering system. This allows visitors to browse content such as Best Buy products while the branding is clearly visible in the background.

MSSI President Howard Witherspoon said in a recent telephone interview that making the theater high tech and engaging was vital to the project, to fit with Best Buy's brand image.

"They (the digital signage elements of the project) were critical," he said. "I think that Best Buy, because they are obviously so closely associated with technology, felt that it was imperative that as they go into a space of this nature that they be able to represent that visually and reinforce their brand by having a striking technical presence when you walk in the door."

The original build out for the deployment took only two months, according to an announcement from AOpen, with the full deployment taking an additional nine months to develop MSSI's patent-pending SoftSync syncing technology now used for the video wall. MSSI used AOpen DE67 and DE7000 media players and Samsung UT460 displays.

The Best Buy Theater is located in the heart of Times Square, and is well known for hosting high profile events such as concerts by Jennifer Lopez and Linkin Park, and it also hosts press events, live television, Web broadcasts and award shows, including the Heisman Trophy ceremony, which has been held there since 2005.

The interactive touchscreens in the lounge area, running on AOpen players, "are really there so that people can then interact more" with the Best Buy brand and expose visitors to those events to information about specific categories of Best Buy products, Witherspoon said. They also feature QR codes to allow visitors to drill down more into specific products, and a device that lest you see what other products' QR codes are being scanned across the country, he said.

"That really is about engagement with the customer and getting them to spend more time with your brand," he said. "With the interactive applications it's drawing them in and having them then be able to go in and get information about the products, but really it's eyes on, which means that I know that if you're there involevd with an interactvie activity, that's giving me greater involvement with the brand and that individual."

The project "turned out great," in no small part because Best Buy has been "really happy" with it, Best Buy Theater video wallbut the deployment also suggests something more about digital signage, Witherspoon said.

"The thing that just strikes me is that digital signage has now become an affordable alternative to any sort of build out that you're going to do, whether you're using it experientially, whether you're using it environmentally, or whether you're using it from a commercial basis, there are now cost-effective tools to allow everyone to really engage themselves at some level," he said.

"And the value proposition wrapped around that in terms of engagement, in terms of versatility and around message delivery and the ability then to really build a relationship with your audience, is here now more so than ever."

Read more about digital signage and customer experience.

Topics: Entertainment Venues , Interactive / Touchscreen , Mobile Interactivity

Companies: Samsung Electronics America , AOPEN Inc.

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