A new screen is going up in Times Square on Tuesday night that will be the biggest and most expensive in the world. The display—eight stories tall and nearly the length of a football field—will be solely dedicated to advertisements, something companies are hoping will attract attention away from the most distractive thing known to man: smartphones.
Beginning Nov. 24, Google will be the sole advertiser of the space through the New Year; the going rate is upwards of $2.5 million for four weeks, making it one of the most expensive outdoor ad real estate spaces across the globe. The immense screen pushes nearly 24 million LED pixels, with an astounding resolution of 2,368 x 10,048. I can’t even imagine how much electricity it takes to constantly power that thing, let alone the maintenance involved.
An estimated 300,000 pedestrians walk through the Times Square “bow tie” every day, which is where Seventh Avenue intersects with Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets. Even more people will be there during New Year’s Eve, which is one of the busiest days all year. That’s a lot of eyes on advertising, and with such a big canvas to work with, people will almost have no choice but to see what’s on that display—that’s the point. For Google, it could be a good opportunity to advertise its new Nexus products, though the company will likely focus on Chromebooks and Lollipop.
“People go to the Grand Canyon to see the most visually stunning natural canyon in the world,” said Tim Topkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “They come to Times Square to see the most digitally striking canyon in the world.”
I’ve been to Times Square once—all the way back in high school—and it’s certainly a spectacle. Everywhere you look there’s an enormous screen with some form of advertising. The details of Google’s ad campaign haven’t been divulged, so we’ll have to wait and see what the company has in store when the holidays hit.