Ad review: “Churchies drive thru car insurance”

This cheeky digital billboard campaign by WCRS is a great example of the way new technology is changing the face of out-of-home advertising. It uses vehicle recognition technology to communicate the finer points of Churchill car insurance with passers-by on a personal level.

The challenge Churchill faced with this advertising campaign was to communicate the humdrum ins-and-outs of car insurance policies to consumers in a fun and engaging way.

So, to highlight their fast and personal service, Churchill based this campaign on a classic 1950’s drive-thru theme as its inspiration, serving drivers with real-time personalised messages about their cars and insurance products available to them.

For example, “Silver Volvo, loving your automatic brakes” is emblazoned across the billboard as a silver Volvo pulls up alongside it. It then goes on to say, “So get 20% off our insurance with AEB”.

Another cheeky message is triggered when a police car stops next to the billboard: “Afternoon officer, Churchill are on emergency call 24/7 too”.

How does it work?

The billboards use Ocean’s vehicle recognition technology to monitor vehicles that have stopped next to the ad. Unveiled earlier this year in the All-New Renault Megane campaign, the vehicle recognition technology uses cameras to detect a vehicle’s number plate.

The number plate is then matched with a vehicle specification database to pull the make, model and colour of that vehicle, as well as demographic information about the driver. Once the target vehicle is identified, the technology triggers a corresponding creative to be served in real-time.

It all sounds a bit ‘Big Brother’, but the vehicle specification database used to identify vehicles is anonymous and doesn’t store or record any personal data. What it does do however, is enable out-of-home advertisers to connect with target audiences more effectively

Why this campaign’s a winner

It’s this ability to connect with target audiences that makes the Churchie drive-thru billboard ad so powerful. The campaign uses data to its best advantage by identifying exactly who to aim their message at and tailoring that message so its relevant to their specific needs.

And they manage to do it in an entirely inoffensive, un-creepy way. Because, let’s face it, this sort of identification technology does have the potential to unnerve people. They also manage to deliver messages that are specifically relevant to the individual driver targeted, as well as being of interested to the wider audience of passers-by. It’s an incredibly efficient way of using outdoor advertising to reach your desired target audience.

“Churchie’s drive-thru car insurance” is an exciting example of the way in which technology is being used to develop the out-of-home advertising industry. With this sort of real-time access to demographic data and the ability to engage with consumers on such a personal level, the creative opportunities for digital out-of-home are endless.