In Boston and Nationwide, Out-of-Home Responds
A series of evolving messages on digital billboards assisted the community after the Boston Marathon explosions, while Out-of-Home platforms across the country expressed unity and sympathy. Digital technology provided “dynamism and adaptability”, summed up by the publication Digital Signage Today.
In the Carolinas, an OOH art director created a design featuring a tear on the unicorn from the Boston Marathon’s logo with the tagline, “Pray for Boston”. In the Detroit area, a resident who saw messages on digital billboards said “it made me tear up a little”.
As the marathon approached, digital billboards in the Boston area promoted the event and wished runners good luck on race day, April 15th. Quickly after the bombings, copy switched to breaking news (“Two Explosions at Marathon Finish Line”) and a series of alerts from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
Cell phone service was frustrated by excess demand; major wireless carriers reported disruptions to service on Monday. Digital billboards delivered practical logistics information as well as news, updating residents on event cancellations and public safety alerts. Later, digital billboards in the Boston area empowered the public to help law enforcement by sharing tips.
By Thursday, the FBI had posted the photo of a suspect on digital billboards. The Out-of-Home industry has partnered with the FBI since 2007. By week’s end, the emergency messages reflected the gravity of the manhunt: “Stay home if you live in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge or Allston-Brighton”.