Innovation That Matters

Cyber security group

Live cyber crime made visible through digital billboard campaign


A UK insurance company used an interactive billboard campaign to warn small businesses of the need for strong cybersecurity.

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UK insurer Hiscox wants to alert small businesses to the very real possibility of being attacked by hackers. Despite the widespread impression that hackers generally focus on big companies, recent YouGov research shows that up to a third of small businesses have been victims of cyber crime. Promoting Hiscox’s Specialist Small Business Insurance, the billboards showed in real time the number of attacks on the dedicated campaign servers.

A set of servers similar to those used by many small businesses was set up to power the billboard. Called honeypot servers, the activity within them was reflected on the billboard’s digital headline. It read, ‘Every Pulsing Dot Represents a Cyber Attack’. The billboards also featured a ticker that tracked the number of attacks. Even the team behind the campaign was surprised at the volume of attacks, with the average per day being 23,000. The highest number of attacks was 60,000 in one 24-hour period. Located in high traffic areas of London and Glasgow, the billboard campaign was a partnership between Hiscox and advertising, media and production agencies AMV BBDO, Talon, Grand Visual and Goodstuff.

Interactive and digital billboards have also been used to grab attention in public health campaigns. In Sweden, a pharmacy used an interactive billboard that coughed whenever it detected cigarette smoke from passersby. Once the coughing fit subsided, the billboard advertised products to help people stop smoking. Additionally, in the UK, a health charity used an interactive billboard placed at bus stops to encourage people to test the strength of their lungs. The stronger someone’s lung capacity, the more the billboard’s message was revealed. How could smart cities integrate these types of interactive and digital displays to help the general public increase their wellbeing?



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