By Dino Burbidge, Director of Technology and Innovation, WCRS

 Guest writer Dino Burbidge considers what the new #PiccadillyLights have in store

It seems strange to refer to it as “old Piccadilly” but having seen the plans for the “new Piccadilly”, there’s no other phrase that fits. It’s not an update or an evolution, it’s a slap-in-the-face revolution in terms of creative possibilities.

As an agency, we’ve had the great privilege of running media on the old layout. It was in a looong rectangle. We definitely made the most of it, but there was no escaping the battle it had for attention with the main sponsors in their prime-time spots.

So, fast forward to the unveiling of the super-mega-jumbo-format Piccadilly Lights format. The creative possibilities started fizzing in my head. I hastily scribbled down five broad thoughts:

  • If you’re one of the main six sponsors, you now get to run HD video all the time. But there’s are also internet-connected, so in the two rolling slots you have before your extended format, you could be asking questions on social or even playing with the fact you’re edging forward towards your extended slot.
  • Every three ad rotations, you get an extended slot. These allow your main ad creative to breathe or to answer questions posed in the previous two spots. It also expands the format so you could do that funky “reveal the things you weren’t seeing at the edges of the video” trick that you can do on Twitter.
  • One of the things that got me most excited was the idea of brand collaborations. As tricky as they sound to get in place, it would be amazing if two or more of the sponsors treated their ad slots as unified spaces. A message or global concept flowing from one brand’s visual space to another. And will we ever see them all coming together for a national or global cultural event? That would be awesome.
  • It goes without saying that the time each brand gets to dominate the screen is the holy grail. Passers-by could do the “normal” things like control ginormous games through their phones, vote or just watch beautifully crafted stories play out across a patchwork of mini-screens. But they could also be part of something much bigger such as live video reveals, as the crescendo of a nationwide campaign, or playing with the environment to dramatically transform the building behind, creating a theatrical spectacle to rival the West End’s theatre land.
  • Finally, there are the weird “special builds”. The “can we make it snow in summer?” opportunities. These can be hard to pull off, but when they do happen, the PR associated with a location as big as Piccadilly Lights will be just as huge.

So that’s what was in my notepad after first hearing about the new format. There will definitely be more to come, the new Piccadilly Lights promising a heady feast of creative opportunities as we get to understand their power.

Never has the old adage been more appropriate; “It’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts!” Indeed.

To discuss your creative concepts email or visit