Times Up, Times Square?

Times Up, Times Square?

Every brand on the planet is always looking to make a “big splash” whether it’s for a new product launch, partnership announcement or during a peak buying time like the holidays. In the days of a monoculture, brands would often leverage Times Square as New York has long been considered the media hub of the world, and it captured the attention of most of the country. With legacy events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve Ball Drop deeply ingrained into the American psyche, it’s easy to understand why brands used to view it as the epicenter of the universe! It represented pop culture and major trends in a way that few other places on the planet could. Does it still hold its luster in 2019?

In a word, no.

While New York remains abundantly dominant with its concentration of media outlets and continues to be a hub for a myriad of industries, the same concentration of eyes that were once on Times Square are scattered across a number of social media properties, news outlets, blogs, streaming services, YouTube channels, and messaging apps. In this incredibly fractured landscape, where does this leave brands?

It leaves them in a great place, as long as they’re getting the right counsel. While it’s always tempting to try and find the widest audience and why millions are still spent on the Super Bowl, brands have had to evolve along with the state of media and where consumers now go. Gone are the days of a major activation in Times Square that captures the attention of the country.

PR teams and brands have had to get much savvier about how all facets of communication are approached. A well-executed campaign can take place anywhere, and an effective combination of digital spend, clever retargeting, earned media, visually compelling assets, influencer activations, video content and a strong story can sweep the internet and spur along purchase decisions in a much more measurable way that an expensive stunt in New York City. A few important questions to consider as you’re looking to generate buzz:

  • Do I have a compelling story? (be honest!)
  • Who is my audience and where can I find them?
  • What are we communicating?
  • How will I be supporting this campaign?
  • How am I measuring success?

While it’s always tempting to default to what feels comfortable or has worked in the past, it’s critical for brands to realize that it will take much more than a Red Bull pit stop to generate buzz in 2019.