We recently read about a village in India known as Pimpri Sandas that was suffering from a bad period of drought and this is one of many villages in the region that has been hit by long periods of lack of water. Vodafone recently had 5 billboards constructed in the area with various advertising messages and while they a digital billboard is not on offer, they do serve a specific purpose other than just advertising to locals.
At first glance, it may seem a bit tasteless for a multinational telecommunications company to be erecting billboards in an area currently suffering from drought but the company did have an ulterior motive when they approved their construction. Quite simply, the billboards themselves are fitted with large volume water tanks that are highly effective at harvesting rainwater. The tanks gradually fill up as you would expect until they reach full capacity.
Once the tanks have reached full capacity, Vodafone uses its resources to send SMS messages out to a specialised 24-hour collection team who travel to the site and collect the water. This is then distributed among the villagers and enables Vodafone to help sustain life in the community and allow farmers to continue to grow crops which, in turn, helps drive the local economy.
We love the concept and how Vodafone has stepped up to the player with their CSR. Vodafone has referred to the billboards as smart. There isn’t a digital billboard on site as they are all static but we love the modern approach and dual-functionality of them so Smart Billboard seems to be an apt description. They are designed specifically to collect water and are fitted with an aluminium sheet to help funnel up to an incredible 2000 litres into the tanks.
Additionally, a “smart” water sensor is also fitted to allow so that the company can detect when the tank has reached capacity and thus alert the volunteers whose job it is to collect the water. While a digital billboard has its uses it cannot be denied that these Smart Billboards go above and beyond to help those in greater need. They are manufactured and fully funded by Vodafone and we can definitely see the potential in them as a socially-responsible way of advertising to a market.
These billboards have certainly had an impact thus far and at GoGo Vision, we will be monitoring developments closely to see how these billboards continue to benefit the community. We consider these to be an outdoor advertising innovation and if you have any questions about outdoor advertising feel free to get in touch where we would be happy to help!