Hulu leveraged out-of-home (OOH) technology to project the characters of "Animaniacs" atop taxis and rideshare vehicles for the rebooted series' debut weekend on the streaming platform, per a press release emailed to Marketing Dive.
The three-dimensional characters appeared on vehicles parked at iconic locations such as Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Santa Monica Pier, Sunset Strip and TCL Chinese Theater as holograms created via Holoprojectors that spin at 30 frames per second. The ads are activated through location-based, WiFi-enabled triggers.
Developed with OOH media network Firefly, the holograms promoted the return of "Animaniacs," which originally aired in 1993 and became a quirky favorite of millennials — many of whom are now parents of young children.
By teaming with Firefly on car-mounted hologram activations, Hulu tapped into nostalgia for "Animaniacs" with audiences in New York and Los Angeles. The ads are a novel use of technology that elevates traditional OOH and is well-suited for the animated show, which has endured as a cult classic for many millennials who grew up in the '90s.
The campaign shows how marketers, including streaming content platforms seeing a boom in viewership, are continuing to invest in digital OOH experiments to engage consumers who are outside but continuing to be wary of the coronavirus.
"Brands deserve more from out-of-home advertising — static, traditional creative simply isn't enough to resonate with a modern audience," said Kaan Gunay, co-founder and CEO of Firefly, in a statement.
The stunt for the reboot of the kids' series is similar to one Firefly staged for Puma during the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago. With dynamic hologram ads promoting the company's Sky Dreamer sneaker, Puma also looked to engage younger consumers.
OOH had been experiencing a bit of a resurgence after consumers hunkered down during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. As they started to re-emerge during the summer, OOH was viewed as a way to reach consumers after they had spent many months in front of screens at home.
Though consumers are being encouraged to stay at home as virus cases again surge throughout the country, there is some indication that OOH could still be an effective marketing tool. According to a recent survey from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, 38% of consumers, planning to shop Black Friday sales in person will be on the lookout for ad signage offering discounts or specials via QR codes, near-field communication sensors or text messages. Among those who planned to spend at least half their holiday budgets over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, that interest increased to 58%.