Hunter and McCartney sign Piccadilly Lights ad deals

Stella McCartney and Hunter have both signed up to to advertise in one of the six positions on the world-famous Piccadilly Lights, the lights’ owner Landsec said Friday.


The new Piccadilly Lights will be a hi-tech experience


The brands will form part of the innovative new Piccadilly Lights screen which will be switched back on this month. They will share one of the six advertising spots on rotation until January.

While the Lights are more usually linked with global mega brands, rather than fashion names, Hunter has previously shown itself to be very open to digital ‘out of home’ (OOH) advertising. It was first introduced to it in 2015 under the creative direction of Alasdhair Willis, live streaming content from its London Fashion Week Catwalk show across multiple Ocean Outdoor screens. 

However, this will be McCartney’s  first-ever presence in a mainstream OOH environment. The brands join a line-up of advertisers, appearing alongside Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Samsung and L’Oréal Paris for the relaunch of the lights.

Piccadilly Lights have been switched off since January for major renovation work that will see the original patchwork of screens replaced with a single advanced-tech 4K LED digital screen and live tech hub. It will be the largest screen of its kind in Europe and advertisers will be able to stream live videos, lifestyle updates and real time social media feeds.

The countdown to switch-on is being marked by the #PiccadillyOn campaign which invites people around the world to be part of the process in aid of several charities.

But the return of the lights hasn’t been without its controversy. The new technology features hidden cameras that can judge people’s age, gender and mood and privacy campaigners have called this "incredibly intrusive", according to reports.

Around 100 million people pass by the area each month and the system will be able to use the cameras to help tailor brand messages. Ocean Outlook, which provided the tech, said the age and gender detection is 90% accurate.

The system can also identify the make of cars passing by and has wifi to allow people to interact with the screen.

Talking to Sky News, privacy campaigners from Big Brother Watch urged Landsec to put up signs informing people that they’re being monitored. 

However, the company said the new screens will not be intrusive. It said in a statement: "Although the Piccadilly Lights screen will be able to display advertising content that responds to real-time factors - such as the weather or the colour of cars - the technology is not able to recognise individual people, or display individually targeted content. The screen does not collect or store personal details or data."

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