Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a giant puppy? This year, a giant Akita dog has been spotted leaping across eight digital billboards operated by Hit Inc around Shibuya Station in Japan. The pup travels from billboard to billboard, riding an elevator, poking his head out of a clock face, and even catching a giant frisbee. Pedestrians around the world-famous Shibuya Crossing have been enamored, and the pooch has gone viral for his antics. Akitas have long been a source of pride for Shibuya, home of the world-famous statue of Hachiko, the Akita who faithfully waited at Shibuya Station for the return of his master after his death.
Many in Japan were reminded of another giant furry friend, a cat that popped up on a billboard in Shinjuku. Like Shibuya’s dog, the calico cat is lifelike, taking advantage of the 3D illusion of the curved display. Ever since its appearance, the cat has become a sort of beloved landmark in the area as it plays and seems to carefully examine passing pedestrians.
These two animal companions have been welcomed by citizens of the city as landmarks, and show that digital signage can have a powerful influence and can even generate a sense of pride. A little outside-the-box thinking can transform what could be usual digital signage usage into a national phenomenon.