Monday, March 26, 2012

PUBLICITY STUNT: New DALLAS Billboard Steams Up Times Square

Right now, technicians are fine-tuning the plumbing behind the new, enormous DALLAS Billboard at the northern end of Times Square (723 Seventh Avenue at 48th Street). Depicting a sturdy male form showering in his cowboy hat, the billboard enigmatically proclaims, "They're Back."  If you look closely at the photograph at right, beneath the sign, you can see the legs of the workers along with their cherry-picker.

By referencing the cliffhanger in 1986 when we caught Bobby Ewing showering (and very much alive), the billboard underlines the TNT series' connection to the iconic primetime soap opera while reminding us what a phenomenon the original DALLAS was. Although some viewers may have felt slightly cheated when we discovered that season eight was merely Pam's dream, the "Bobby is Alive!" reveal was undeniably a very hot topic around office water coolers the world over.

Wouldn't it be great if TNT's series, beginning June 13th, 2012, was as buzzworthy?

But wait, there's more: just in case decades of TV history and a 40-foot image of a showering Texan aren't enough to create a stir in Times Square, the display also incorporates a fairly large-scale steam effect that brings to mind some of the most talked-about billboards in the history of The Square.

For 26 years, a Camel cigarettes sign emitted "smoke" rings made of steam over the square between 43rd and 44th street, and in the 80s and 90s an enormous Nissan Cup O' Soup warmed the New Year's Eve countdown ball from the side of the New York Times Building. The DALLAS steam effect may be the largest. When completed, it will wrap around the building, enveloping both sides of the billboard.

- This phase of DALLAS campaign is estimated to have cost about $300,000.
- On April 2, the "shower curtain" will part to reveal the cast of the new version of “Dallas,” clad in towels.
- During phase two, the new billboards will display the punchline: “They’re back. And no, you’re not dreaming.”
- In the past, billboards have used steam to sell coffee, pizza and model trains as well as cigarettes, soup, and TV shows.
- There are actually special zoning laws in place in New York City that dictate that all buildings in Times Square be clad in spectacular advertisments.

We'd love to know what you think of the new DALLAS billbard. Please tell us in the Comments section, below.

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