As usual, America is ahead of the game, and that even includes something as mundane as dog food.
US company Beneful is encouraging people to play with virtual dogs on interactive billboards in a five-city campaign.
When the big digital boards detect a person walking by the screen, they unleash a virtual dog chase and play with the passersby. You can then play a game of virtual fetch and even customize your dog, choosing details like colour, size, nose, tail and fur pattern.
Beneful really wanted to talk about how their brand should be associated with play said Steve Birnhak, CEO of Inwindow Outdoor, the outdoor advertising company that developed the technology used in the campaign. People can walk past and are ‘assigned’ a dog that will try to engage the passerby and when they do, there will be a pile of tennis balls on the screen.
Users can even have a photo taken next to their virtual dog, which will be delivered via text message and can be shared on social platforms.
Beneful has interactive billboards in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and St. Louis.
The New York display includes lasers that constantly track footfall at ground level and determine when two walking legs equal a potential player. In addition, Beneful will be able to track traffic and determine how many people have walked by.
I’m desperate to have a go, but sadly I’ll have to travel if I want to play with one of these dogs. If anyone has had a go, do let me know if it is as fun as it looks (and if you were tempted to buy the dog food more importantly!)