Boston commuters will get PSAs in gif form

Passengers on Boston public transport will start seeing gifs in PSAs.

While hardened New Yorkers are left grumbling about the sad state of the Subway this summer and are stuck with “Stand clear of the closing doors, please”, riders of Boston’s commuter rail system are getting public service announcements in gif form, which the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) hopes will better promote its messages about etiquette and safety.

Outdoor media company Outfront Media is providing the “friendly and easy to understand public service announcements” using gifs from gif search engine Giphy.

Outfront aims to drive consumer awareness through “informative yet popular, humorous content” and will deploy the PSAs programmatically through an on-screen Android application via the Giphy API.

Launching in Copley Station and subsequently rolling out on all of Outfront’s liveboard displays throughout MBTA, the campaign is set to run through 2017 and 2018.

Outfront said the gifs help earn rider’s attention, but also bring Giphy to a new medium – digital out-of-home – and allow Giphy to interact with consumers beyond the smartphone.

“We’re thrilled that our platform is empowering the MBTA and Giphy to distribute gif-based content in a new context,” said Andy Sriubas, Outfront Media's executive vice president of strategic planning and development. “We hope MBTA riders will appreciate the fun, lighthearted way that we are sharing these messages.”

David Rosenberg, director of business development at Giphy, said Giphy is excited about the future of digital out-of-home and working on more visually stimulating campaigns with gifs.

Interim MBTA general manager Steve Poftak added in a statement, “Working closely with Outfront Media, we are pleased to roll out these unique public service messages that address frequent comments from our customers. Courteous behavior makes the transit experience a more pleasant one and we hope these fun and friendly reminders will increase public awareness."

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is a senior reporter for The Drum, covering digital and search marketing. Based in New York, she writes about how brands use technology to connect with consumers, particularly as innovations like voice search, digital assistants and the Internet of Things change consumers’ lives forever – not to mention the data these platforms increasingly collect and the security and privacy issues therein. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism. Her bucket list includes riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

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