Total digital takeover of start line delivered to the 42nd London Marathon as part of ADI’s largest deployment
Over 38,000 runners passed beneath the finish gantry on Sunday 2nd October, with ADI supplying the 2022 TCS London Marathon with more digital activations than ever before and enhancing the experience for runners, spectators and sponsors with a unique combination of LED displays, content and connectivity solutions.
For over 15 years, ADI have been providing the London Marathon with mobile screens and have established themselves as their trusted LED supplier. For the 2022 event, ADI delivered their largest ever deployment with several bespoke digital solutions, including 31 totems, mobile screens, an LED Gantry, digiBOARDs and sports presentation services.
- Most digital activations ever deployed to London Marathon
- Total digital takeover of Elite start zone
- LED Gantry, iCONIC screens, digiBOARD and battery-powered totems across three separate locations
- Event Presentation content and BBC broadcast connectivity provided
Largest Ever Activation
Now in its 42nd year, the gradual growth of the London Marathon has led to it becoming one of the most respected and inspiring fixtures in the world’s sporting calendar. To capitalise on the event’s popularity and unlock the huge revenue potential, ADI deployed its biggest and most impressive digital platform to date, which included a full digital takeover of the main start line.
Due to the volume of runners, there were three different start zones – Red, Blue and Green – with ADI supplying iCONIC mobile LED screens to each one. Giant screens and digital signage are essential for large audience communication and crowd management at this type of ‘mass’ event, and they also play a pivotal role in delivering effective, high impact activations for sponsors and brand advertisers.
Liaising closely with the London Marathon team, ADI provided an OB unit with a fully integrated technical team delivering a live screen mix. This enabled the live BBC broadcast feed of the race action to be blended with new event presentation content and pushed out in real-time across all the LED screens.
At the main Blue start line, 12 double-sided digital totems were positioned on both sides of the road, showing the red and black brand colours of new title sponsor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The camera-facing totems were a new addition and offered a brand activation platform that could reach hundreds of thousands of people through in-person spectator engagement and a global TV audience. In total, 31 digital totems could be found at various points along the route, all of which interchanged between event sponsors and runner information, with the ability to update and control content over a secure 5G network.
ADI’s modular digiBOARD perimeter system was installed along the main grandstand, which was in a high footfall area and camera-facing. The solution, which is currently being used inside some of Europe’s most famous football stadiums, offered another flexible canvas for TCS to activate their brand with eye-catching digital assets, as opposed to static imagery.
Just after the 10 km mark, runners reach the infamous Cutty Sark in Greenwich, one of the best-supported points on the whole course. Here, ADI deployed cameras, screens and event presentation elements for the event’s longstanding partner, Flora.
As the runners approached the finish line at The Mall, a stretch that runs from Whitehall to Buckingham Palace, a huge crowd gathered to roar the runners home. Along the home stretch, totems were used from the 1000 metre mark to give the runners an indication of how far was left. On top of that, TCS branded digiBOARD ran from the final bend at Buckingham Palace through to the finish line.
EVOLVING THE EVENT EXPERIENCE
Since ADI first delivered to the London Marathon, the number of digital activations and content creation has grown significantly to meet the requirements of a modern-day, globally broadcast sports event. The marathon’s popularity has grown steadily too, with huge participation and viewing figures presenting sponsorship opportunities for brands to reach worldwide audiences.
With that in mind, ADI managed the digital takeover of the start line, which included LED gantry legs, digital totems and an LED digiBOARD that ran alongside the main grandstand. These are all brand new activations.
Historically, the totems at the start line, finish line, Cutty Sark and along the route have been printed static installations, which not only limits the amount advertising space London Marathon can sell, but also reduces the impact. For the first time ever, ADI supplied fully digital totems which expanded the advertising portfolio and, in turn, helped generate more revenue streams.
The brand engagement platforms at Cutty Sark and embankment were delivered for global marketing agency CSM and included two innovative activations for Flora. The largest of which involved camera operators, an LED screen technician, show caller and floor manager to help deliver an impressive activation that kept spectators engaged at an iconic stage of the race.
On-site ADI staff were able to control messaging in real-time thanks to a brand-new digital signage player connected to a 5G network, which allows each user to update the screens with different content at any point during the day.
With an ambition to provide a more environmentally friendly solution, ADI opted to use batteries to power the free-standing digital totems rather than generators. This removed the requirement to draw power from the National Grind and replaced it with a sustainable and cost-effective operation.
The system was designed so that ADI could power a specific number of totems for a certain amount of time, with calculations on power done prior to the event and batteries provided accordingly. To ensure a smooth delivery, an app was then used onsite to monitor battery life for each totem, as well as the amount of power that each one is pulling.