Bloomberg’s ‘Big Problems. Big Thinkers.’ goes big in Times Square billboard

Bloomberg's Big Problems Big Thinkers aired on a Times Square billboard.

The so-called Crossroads of the World is one of the noisiest places on earth, but Bloomberg Media, the media arm of financial software, data and media company Bloomberg, thinks it has an important message in a new docu-series – and it hopes airing an episode and related content in the area will inspire consumers to pay attention.

Out-of-home advertising firm Kinetic Worldwide partnered with Bloomberg Media to promote the series, “Big Problems. Big Thinkers,” which examines what Kinetic called “some of the biggest threats facing humanity and the solutions underway to solve them.”

The first episode focused on climate change and premiered at 8 p.m. ET on September 14 on Bloomberg Television, as well as on Bloomberg.com.

To coincide with the debut, the first episode was also slated to air on a billboard on the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in Times Square. But, after a glitch, it was the second episode that aired on the billboard the following week.

Kinetic said it sought to bring the six-part series to life in a “grand and impactful way” and developed an “active journey…by connecting the dots between timing, location, mindset and consumer intentions to contextually connect and activate Bloomberg’s audience throughout their day.”

In other words, a rep said Kinetic wanted to “create [a] pause in [consumers’] active [journeys] because the message of [“Big Problems. Big Thinkers.”] is a powerful one.”

As such, the agency said it secured a total of five digital billboard units in Times Square “to drive awareness of the show’s core message of promoting a sustainability-conscious and mindful world to consumers on the move.”

A rep did not have additional information about what the supplemental content would include on other billboards. However, Kinetic said this makes “Big Problems. Big Thinkers.” the first television show to premiere a full episode on a Times Square billboard using closed captioning at the same time the live TV show is airing.

According to the Times Square Alliance, an organization that says it “works to improve and promote Times Square,” an average of more than 300,000 pedestrians enter the so-called Times Square Bowtie each day, along with an additional 115,000 passengers who pass through via car or bus. And, the Times Square Alliance said, signage in Times Square can expect nearly 1.5 million impressions each day.

Beyond live screening an episode, custom content will run on additional Times Square billboards, including the American Eagle and Express signs and Taxi TV. These efforts are supported by outdoor advertising firms Outfront Media and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas to “provide additional opportunities for ‘Big Problems. Big Thinkers.’ to make an emotional impact on audiences on the move,” Kinetic said.

The show, created in partnership with journalist and producer Terre Blair, focuses on challenges like the economy, foreign affairs, media and political paralysis. The series features interviews with figures like business magnate Warren Buffett, the Dalai Lama, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh.

According to a release, Bloomberg will use its brand content arm, Kinection, to produce custom content for series sponsor Cisco that aligns with themes explored in the show.

“The pieces will bring to life the ways Cisco’s technology is shaping how businesses, cities and people connect and collaborate,” the release said.

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