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Nokia’s interactive arrow billboard gets direction, shows direction

Nokia Arrow

Weathervane? More like whither-vane! (Sorry guys.) Nokia hoisted up an enormous arrow-shaped interactive digital billboard over the Tower Bridge in London to publicize their navigation services. Spectacle! What better way to tout services no one really knew they had?

The colossal signpost (as big as two double decker buses!), by Swedish agency Farfar, is controlled by the public–anyone can send in a location anywhere in the world via text or web, and the arrow will turn to point in the direction of the landmark, providing distance as well. It’s a great way to demonstrate–of course in larger than life hyperbole–the promise behind their navigation services: it’s powerful technology, and it’s at your command–quite literally, at your fingertips. (It reminds me of another excellent interactive billboard: BBC World’s provocative series that got people to engage with current events and made quite literal the notion that there are two sides to any story, reinforcing the BBC’s commitment to fair coverage and interest in all points of view. A great and thankfully not at all frustratingly irrelevant/pointless/bandwaggony use of user interaction and social advertising.)

In its aim to “make navigation into something social”  by asking people to “discover and share the good things,” the execution delivers a navigation experience beyond humdrum point A to point B–it engages people, it gets them thinking and talking and interacting–in a global community busy creating a global best-of. And in a shrewd reinforcement of these social communal it’s-a-small-world warm fuzzies, Nokia streamed it all live on video at their website, syncing all the submitted locations to a “Good Things” map for anyone to view–a global who’s who (where’s where?) of places worth knowing about.

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