- Facility: Edmonton City Centre
- Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Challenge: Entertain passersby of the elevated walkway and increase sales of retailers in mall, as well as promote local, regional and national businesses
- Solution: 46” NEC X462UN
A well-known inner city attraction, the Edmonton City Centre (ECC) connects to two downtown hotels and more than 6 million square feet of offices in Alberta’s capital. As of June 2011, the ECC walkway sees more than 4.5 million pedestrians per year with a weekly average of 87,200, according to Canadian Out-of-Home Measurement Bureau (COMB). This intense level of traffic sparked the conversation of installing video walls to increase revenue at local retailers, as well as entertain the passersby.
ECC offers a unique retail bridge that connects several downtown buildings and acts as a hub for quick access for commuters. With more than 800,000 square feet of retail space, the Centre sees thousands of daily passersby walking to their office through the walkway that are prime targets for retail advertising. A 2009 in-mall and telephone survey conducted by Advitech estimates 41% of these passersby are between the ages of 25 and 44, comprising a large portion of the shopping population. ECC officials knew that WMC Digital Media was the integrator to make the idea a reality.
Established in 2011, WMC Digital Media, Inc. is a cutting edge integrator based in Edmonton that helps companies create and execute unique, eye-catching advertising. It specializes in the design of marketing and advertising content and aims to connect advertisers with fitting network operators for the most appropriate advertising venues.
“We screened multiple companies in search of the perfect partner for this one-of-a-kind opportunity,” said Olympia Trencevski, General Manager of ECC. “WMC is now taking City Centre to the next level. Our new bridgeway digital video walls will not only be the first-to-market, but will ultimately provide local, regional and international brands with an unprecedented opportunity to speak to our premium demographics in a way like never before.”
“We regularly see a long line of commuters waiting to grab their coffee, and those minutes customers spend in line can be used to attract them to local businesses,” said Walsh McPherson, founder of WMC. “We want to entice their participation in community events or simply entertain them with trivia and news.”
In March 2011, McPherson was tasked as the man in charge of creating interactivity with passersby by utilizing the versatility of LCD displays. From video and animation to audio and RSS feeds, digital signage would allow local marketers to target their messaging to workers and shoppers in the mall. The video walls would need to have the capability to display Twitter feeds and photos sent in by social media users passing through the walkway. Content would be focused on entertaining and engaging locals with fun facts, pop culture and targeted advertising, as well as financial information and sports stats. The unique blend of this digital signage content is designed to pique the interest of all whom pass through the area and lead shoppers to stores within the mall.
“The placement of the video walls was crucial to the success of the project,” said McPherson. “The content would have no purpose, and the project wouldn’t be beneficial if the target audience can’t easily view the video walls. The sizing, placement and location of the video walls were a top priority.”
In August 2011, McPherson worked with Matrix Video Communications Corporation to discuss selecting a manufacturer to provide LCD displays that would fit the requirements of the project. Timely shipping of the product was crucial, as was the near-seamless appearance with sleek aesthetics. Color calibration was equally as important in order to present matching uniformity across the configurations. Matrix agreed on McPherson’s selection of NEC based on the 24/7 reliability of its ultra-narrow displays. Additionally, NEC’s experience with effective digital signage and its leadership role within the industry made the partnership a perfect match.
Three video walls, comprised of NEC X462UN ultra-narrow LCD displays, were installed at the elevated walkway that joins the east and west buildings that make up ECC. The wall configurations include a 4×4 in landscape (east wall), 2×2 in portrait and 3×3 in landscape (both on west wall). Software and video players were provided by Capital Networks, while the 3×3 video wall’s Trivial Pursuit™ content was provided by Hasbro Canada.
In October 2011, the official launch party of the video walls took place, where local retailers had the first opportunity to see their advertisements displayed on the screens.
To cover the costs incurred from implementing the video walls, ECC and WMC relied on the revenue generated from advertising dollars, and they continue to add new advertisers to the rotation.
“The reaction by locals has been phenomenal, and retailers are impressed with the results they’re getting from this targeted marketing,” said McPherson. “Digital media is growing in popularity because it’s something that people are interested in, looking at and not tuning out, like they would with static signage.”
“The video walls are absolutely fantastic, lively and colorful,” said a launch party attendee. “They give you something to look at when you’re standing in line, and they’re informative. I really believe it’s going to attract good attention, because it’s way better than just pictures. What a fantastic way to get a big bang for your buck.”
Throughout November 2011, the video walls were promoting “Movember”, an international initiative dedicated to raising awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. The video wall displayed a 15-second clip, encouraging passersby to post their moustache photos to the WMC Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wmcdigital). Officials will select their favorite photos to appear larger-than-life on the video wall during the month. The results of this promotion have been outstanding. WMC has vastly increased traffic to its website and Facebook page and generated many fun and interesting photos.
“Our NEC video walls can be used for absolutely anything,” said Kristina Botelho, Specialty Leasing Manager at ECC. “It’s like a mini Vegas or New York in our bridgeway, where the only limitation is a content creator’s imagination.”
Most recently, WMC has initiated a co-promotion with Century Hospitality Group to give away several floor seats to a major concert event, Prince, in Edmonton. These promotions have resulted in a 42% increase in Facebook likes and have enabled ECC to interact with commuters and shoppers while giving them the chance to see themselves on a large video wall.
“Many of our customers are looking to reach the downtown market because it’s filled with young, urban, hip people,” said Greg Burns, marketing director of ECC. “We’re in an age of social media with Facebook and Twitter, and this falls right in line with that.”
“It’s a good addition to downtown Edmonton,” said Lloyd Lewis, vice president and general manager of CTV Edmonton, provider of the RSS feeds on the video walls. “I support anything that helps this city be robust, and I think this is a piece of that.”
“WMC has proven that this is what retailers and businesses want in the community,” said Donna Zazulak of Zazulak Marketing.