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How Guatemala ‘Hacked’ Time Square Billboards

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Ricardo Mendoza, chief creative officer of d4 McCann Guatemala, explains how the agency made its country to shine in a space overcrowded with ads

How Guatemala ‘Hacked’ Time Square Billboards

For many advertisers it’s a dream that one of their pieces of work reaches Time Square in New York, the only place in the world where people actually travel to see advertising. How do you sell and promote tourism of Guatemala, a small and beautiful country, there in one of the most major cities on the planet?

With that brief of The Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) in mind, Ricardo Mendoza, chief creative officer of d4 McCANN Guatemala, and his team thought that the greatest strength of Time Square was also its greatest weakness: saturation. This way, they proposed to ‘hack’ one the screens with the message 'Now come to a place without billboards'. After this, a quick scene of the Semuc Champey river (which means 'where the river is hidden downhill' in the Yucatec Maya language) was revealed, with the phrase 'Come to Guatemala' inviting to think of that nation as a next destination.

During the project’s development the group felt the fear of advertising something simple in a place that is bursting with technology and digital overproductions. Ricardo says that: “curiously the way we took was the least expected one, to anti-advertise showing a destination without broad avenues, skyscrapers, or hundreds of thousands of people visiting it every day, just natural beauty almost unexplored.”

Ricardo added: “someone once said there's nothing more complicated than reaching simplicity, so we thought up a message written in Helvetica (an iconic feature of signage in New York) on a white background, talking to the curious tourists to collect destinations while taking photos of the place and sharing it on their social networks.”

And the results pleased them: 5.7 million people reached and a Gold award at the El Ojo de Iberoamerica festival. The CCO expresses that “the idea barely started out last year with this award and we hope that the power of simplicity, in a place which has lost it in its wonderful essence, proves in the next festivals that Latin America is full of ideas capable of surprising the world, that going back to the basics of a well-conceived strategy will never go out of date.”

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Categories: Sports and Leisure, Tourism

McCann LATAM, Mon, 03 Feb 2020 18:00:31 GMT