The Times Square Magic

Neon lights, classic advertisements and mesmerizing retail stores – that’s Times Square in a nutshell. No wonder it’s the World’s biggest tourist attraction. I think there is no place in the World that brings together Advertising, Marketing and Technology in a way better than Times Square (Adscovery being an exception;-)). Some cool facts about the Times Square – It accounts for about 0.1% of New York City’s area, but accounts for 5% of city’s jobs and 10% of city’s economic output. The total economic output of $53 billion is more than the combined GDP of Bolivia and Panama.

With more than 40 million people visiting the place every year, what better place out there to advertise than Times Square? Annually aroung 1000+ hours of broadcasting are made from the Times Square. But in an industry where the cost is directly proportional to the number of eyeballs, marketers have to dig deep in there pockets to advertise on the Times Square. The CPMs here ranges from $2 to $5 (prime time TV CPMs are around $20). Advertisements are like the life blood of Times Square, both in terms of economic returns and making the place glow. The return of these advertisements for the marketers has grown exponentially with the advent of social networking and sharing websites like YouTube, Flickr and MySpace. People love to take pictures and videos of these advertisements and share it on these websites increasing the number of views by a large factor. 

Another major attraction on Times Square are the stores. The amount of creativity that goes in these stores is unparallel to any retailing experience in the World. From sugar rush stores of Hershey’s and M&M to kid’s paradise at Toys R Us to Virgin and MTV stores, Times Square has got it all. These stores do a great job of brand uplifting for these brands. Even if people don’t end up buying products at that perticular moment from a store, it leaves a lasting impression creating a strong brand equity. I won’t even classify these stores as just retail stores. They are infact highly interactive billboards. A billboard that communicates a message to the customers and invites them to experince the brand. Take for example the Virgin megastore. It has around 600 listening posts and 100 video posts in the store. Then there is the M&M World where literally walls and walls of M&M in different colors, sizes and shapes are there to entertain the “visitors”.

Times Square doesn’t end with billboards and stores. Add to the mix the theatres on the Broadway, skyscraping hotels, NASDAQ stock market and a couple of music shows in a year right there at the Square, and you can imagine the complete picture. Kudos to the City of New York for maintaining the place and all the marketers, advertisers and designers who put so much brain and energy to each and every square foot on the Times Square to make it a magical experience.

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