Watch the switch-on of Piccadilly Lights, where one screen marks digital OOH’s power

The luminescent advertising billboard of London’s Piccadilly Circus has been turned back on after 10 months of renovations. The switch to one large, curved screen offers its advertisers greater flexibility, and acts as a showcase for the power of digital out of home.

The old display, which featured several detached screens, has been replaced by one 780sqm 4K LED board. Site owner Landsec claims it to be the largest single display in Europe, comprising 11.6m bulbs.

The one-screen solution allows for brand takeovers of the entire outdoor space. The screen will usually be divided into six moving blocks, however, which shuffle in order habitually. The curved inventory will also be capable of hosting live video, weather, sport and news updates, as well as social media feeds.

Children’s charity Barnado's kicked off the switch on at 8am this morning with a display celebrating the success of its #PiccadillyOn campaign, which raised funds in the run-up to the launch.

L'Oréal, eBay, Stella McCartney, Hunter, Hyundai and Samsung have signed up to the debut advertising spots alongside old faithful Coca-Cola, which first bought media space in Piccadilly in 1955. Perrier was the first to launch a light up sign at the intersection in 1908.

The change is a significant one for proponents of digital outdoor, given the increased flexibility and personalisation opportunities offered to partner brands at what has now become a London landmark. The screen has also been built with audience and car recognition technology, giving advertisers the ability to tailor content dependent on who is walking or driving by.

"At a time when there are more advertising opportunities for brands than ever before, there are only a handful of advertising spaces in the world that are as iconic and unique as the Piccadilly Lights," said Aedamar Howlett, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland marketing director.

"The new technology will allow us to be more creative with how we use the space, providing new opportunities to tailor our messages in real time and engage consumers directly with our content."

Katie Deighton

Katie Deighton is The Drum’s senior reporter - creative and video based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title’s editorial video output, including series such as On The Scene, Ad Breakers and Why I Left Advertising, and manages its coverage of the creative sector. She also reports on the intersection between politics and marketing, as well as the third sector and fashion.

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