BBCA Enjoys Viral Spread Of NYC Outdoor Ads

BBC America is getting social media mileage out of a new outdoor advertising campaign it's launched in the New York City area.

Billboards and commuter transit ads that invoke franchises and stars like Doctor Who and Gordon Ramsay, using the irreverent tone the channel has adopted as its personality, started appearing late January.

A dual, stacked billboard in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, not far from Chelsea Market, installed on Jan. 26 promotes the network as a whole. "We claim this space in the name of Quality British Television," the top sign says. "Also this one. BBC America," is on the lower sign.
Poster ads that sprouted in commuter trains (all three suburban lines) Jan. 28-29 are wordy and catchy. "My other commute is in a TARDIS" one says, in a Doctor Who reference, and another says "Gordon Ramsay takes no responsibility for the dining car in this train."

The channel has counted more than 12,500 posts and likes on Tumblr, close to 500 tweets of photos or comments and 1,000 wallpaper downloads of the TARDIS ad, helped by pickups in Perez Hilton's blog and BuzzFeed.

Ads will rotate and will promote upcoming originals No Kitchen Required and Richard Hammond's Crash Course, the channel said.

Perry Simon, general manager, channels, at BBC Worldwide America, said in a statement: "This ad campaign represents a change in strategy for BBC America, as it is the first time we've focused on raising awareness of the channel over a prolonged period of time in a single market. We chose New York City because there's a big correlation between our audience and the mindset of smart, savvy, trendsetting New Yorkers. We knew they'd appreciate the quirkiness of our ads while giving them a glimpse into the type of irreverent and innovative content they can expect from the network. While we made a concerted decision to go local, we're thrilled the campaign is driving conversation nationally through the power of social media."

Officials say about half of the 74-million-subscriber channel's marketing spend this year will be devoted to New York ads.

The commuter-train ads cite the channel's presence (since August) on Cablevision's iO TV lineup. It's also carried in the region on Time Warner Cable, Comcast, FiOS TV and DirecTV, among others.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.