The 11th Screen Puzzle

The 11th screen is a multi-piece puzzle.  But to me, there are two key pieces.  The first key piece is what I previously talked about – bucketing technology into “screens” based on HOW we consume and engage with media.  The second key piece is just as important and that is WHERE we consume and engage with media. 

HOW + WHERE = 11th screen

My WHERE focus is Out of Home (OOH).  The easy way to think of this is the literal translation – outside of your home.  For those that this does not make sense to, let me give you my definition of “Out of Home”:

Any experience that occurs outside of the home that does not require the audience to own the device, medium or platform from which the experience originates.

When I talk about “OOH”, this is what it means to me.  My basis for everything here will be grounded in this, specifically this part:  does not require the audience to own the device, medium or platform from which the experience originates.

If we look at the examples in my previous posts, you’ll see what I mean:

Mini served up messages to people driving on the highway (out of their home) on digital billboards (platform that they didn’t own).

Microsoft created experiences in retail stores (outside of the home) on interactive tables (device that users don’t own).

Now, to me, there’s another key piece to this puzzle and that is the piece of personalization, which really gets to the core of my focus.  The way this personalization happens is through the use of technology, specifically through the use of what I’m going to call enabling technology.  Like RFID.  Like touch screens.  Like mobile phones.  This is where the lines start to blur, which we’ll experience more and more, but the point is – this sort of technology enables an otherwise static experience to be “personalized” on some level.

So, to personalize their billboards, Mini used RFID chips that were “assigned” to individuals and when that individual drove by an otherwise “digital” billboard, they received a personalized message.  Technically, the audience owned the RFID chip.  They had to have that in order to receive the personalized experience.  But they didn’t own the digital billboard from which the experience originated.

Let’s look at the Spore/QR code example, though- here’s where the mobile phone piece of this puzzle comes into play.  There are more and more OOH initiatives that are personalized through the use of mobile phones as the enabling technology.  On this example, the audience didn’t own the poster from which the experience originated.  But because there was a QR code on the poster, they were able to interact with it through the use of a device that they owned, and as a result, received a personalized experience. 

On the other hand, users interacting with the MS Surface don’t own the device, nor do they need to own anything else to experience that level of personalization.  Personalization, to a certain extent, is inherent in multi-user touch screen devices.

I think this one of our first big challenges – to understand the difference between “Traditional” and Digital OOH that is made interactive and true Interactive OOH.  Specifically, the impact that this difference has on us and the brands that we represent as engagement agents.  We know people are spending more and more time outside of their home.  They’re engaging with media (and their surroundings) in a way that they have never engaged before.  So, it’s important to engage with them in meaningful ways while they’re outside of their homes.  But is there a more effective way to do this over another?  Is it more effective to engage people through Traditional or Digital OOH made interactive or Interactive OOH? 

Aside from creating an experience where the audience doesn’t have to own anything to have a personalized experience, I don’t think it does.  What’s the one thing that all of us won’t leave home without?  Our mobile phones.  So, if we’re using mobile as an enabling technology, what’s the difference? 

Perhaps the real question is, is the brand driving individuals as “deep” as they can through their OOH initiatives, whether it be through a “native” Traditional, Digital, or Interactive experience?  Are they creating personalized experiences?  Are they putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together?

What examples have you seen that effectively put all the pieces together and create personalized OOH experiences?

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