NEW YORK, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Fun. Carefree. Playful. These are not words typically used to describe the daily commute for millions of Americans. However, during the month of May, an unusual occurrence is going to happen in five major cities across the country. Stressed-out commuters will take a break from their daily routines and start playing on their way to and from work . . . thanks to some unexpected four-legged friends.
Committed to inspiring more play in dog owners' lives, Beneful® brand dog food is unveiling state-of-the-art advertising billboards in five cities that feature a virtual world inhabited by fun-loving, frolicking dogs who want nothing more than to play fetch with people passing by. The campaign kicks off in New York City on May 1, where unsuspecting subway commuters in the Columbus Circle subway station will be able to take a break from the daily grind by playing with dogs of all shapes and sizes on a 64-foot-long interactive billboard. As people walk by the motion-tracking billboard, the dogs will start following them, pawing the screen and giving happy yips to encourage a game of fetch with virtual balls that can be thrown and retrieved. Commuters can also customize the dog of their choosing and access their photo using a mobile device to share on their social networks and on Facebook.com/Beneful.
In addition to the Columbus Circle subway station, Beneful interactive billboards will be installed in the following four cities this May to encourage more Americans to play: Chicago (155 N. Michigan); Los Angeles (Santa Monica Place); Atlanta (54 Alabama) and St. Louis (Walnut/7th St). Each of these billboards features touch-screen technology that enables commuters and other residents to engage the virtual dogs in play.
"At Beneful, we believe the power of PLAY enhances everyday experiences and enriches the time dogs and owners spend together. And, most city dwellers would agree that their daily commute is definitely a time in need of some fun, carefree play," said Jamin Hemenway, Beneful® brand manager. "We believe that using innovative, interactive billboards will encourage people to unleash their inner child and have some fun in unexpected places, with the help of our team of virtual dogs!"
Play in a Manhattan Subway Station
The interactive billboard in the Columbus Circle subway station in Manhattan is 64 feet long and six feet tall. When passersby walk by the screen, they are stepping into the ultimate play park for dogs – an "alive" experience where the birds are chirping, leaves are blowing, and clouds move from a breeze on a sunny day. Dozens of virtual dogs are playing in a grassy field, eagerly awaiting subway goers to begin playing a game of fetch. Each dog has built-in artificial intelligence giving it its own distinct personality to engage with consumers in a unique way. Innovative motion-tracking technology allows commuters to engage with the dogs in a variety of activities, such as reaching out their hand towards a ball and making the motion of tossing it in the air for the dog to catch. Commuters can also customize their virtual best buddy's tail, body size and coat color, and access their photo using a mobile device to share on their social networks and on Facebook.com/Beneful.
In addition to the Columbus Circle billboard*, Beneful is kicking off the campaign in New York City by transforming May Day into PLAY Day. Street teams are encouraging busy New Yorkers to take a few moments out of their day to play by handing out free tennis balls and flying discs.
Consumers can also join the fun on Beneful's Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/Beneful, where they can explore additional ways to PLAY, upload photos of themselves playing with their dogs, and share what PLAY means to them.
*The New York City billboard is owned by CBS Outdoor and is located in the Columbus Circle subway station, managed by the MTA.
About Beneful Brand Dog Food
Manufactured by Nestle Purina PetCare Company, Beneful brand dog food offers a full line of wet and dry formulas that offer a perfect balance of taste and nutrition. Introduced in 2001, Beneful is one of the most successful dog food brands in the Company's history. The North American headquarters for the Nestle Purina PetCare Company is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Missouri, where Ralston Purina Company was founded more than a century ago. Nestle Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. One of the leading global players in the pet food industry, Nestle Purina PetCare is part of the Swiss-based Nestle S.A.- the world's largest food company.
SOURCE Nestle Purina PetCare Company