New York’s Times Square is always brimming with bustling crowds and chaotic displays of electrifying billboards, all competing to seize onlookers’ attention.
In the pre-COVID era, Times Square was seen as one of the busiest streets in the world, always bursting with over 300,000 pedestrians passing by the famous Broadway junction and Seventh Avenue.
The pedestrian count would see a peak of over 400,000 between June and August. Surprisingly enough, the collective count amounts to 131 million passersby in a year. Even during the pandemic, the intersection sees 30,000 passersby who are mainly healthcare workers, law enforcers, or shop owners.
As impressive as it sounds, Times Square, which echoes the cutting-edge personality of New York, has retained its esteem and popularity for years.
And now, with the concept of corporate social responsibility taking over the global business sector by storm, Times Square has become a powerful stage for brands to make a social or cultural impact with their CSR campaigns.
Historical Timeline of Times Square
A local authority named the area as Long Acre Square, after a central London street, Long Acre.
Adolph S. Ochs, the founder of The New York Times, moved the office to 42nd street at Long Acre Square. Shortly after that, the street was renamed to “Times Square” by then-mayor George B. McClellan Jr.
In the same year, Times Square had its first electrified advertisement.
During World War I, Times Square grew immensely, with a great number of theatres, bars, and hotels opening their doors on this soon-to-be iconic street of New York.
Due to the growing popularity of the square, advertisements also grew exponentially.
The Great Depression brought an era of crime and corruption upon Times Square. Many popular places were replaced by bars and brothels.
Victory in Europe Day was celebrated.
In the same year, Victory in Japan was also celebrated.
During the 1960s to early 1990s, Times Square experienced its worst few decades due to the increasing number of crimes and the abundance of adult toy stores and businesses.
The Times Square Alliance was formed between local businesses and the government to develop the district for commerce.
As per the zoning ordinances, building owners at Times Square were mandated by the government to display illuminated billboards or signage.
The government imposed an outdoor smoking ban in the area, making Times Square a smoke-free zone.
As part of Super Bowl XLVIII, Super Bowl Boulevard was held at Times Square.
A Powerful Stage to Display Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is basically a brand’s display of taking responsibility for making a positive impact on society through its business. Take, for instance, when Starbucks took a pledge in 2017 that it would donate roughly 50 million meals annually by 2021.
This is just one of the many real-life examples of brands contributing to society in a significant manner. As being a part of society, brands provide a social and environmental benefit to the global community.
One of the many factors that motivate brands to jump on the bandwagon and start contributing to the community is the resulting affinity. According to a survey conducted by Cone Communication, 87% of Americans would be willing to buy a product from a brand that speaks for an issue they cared about.
And for years, Times Square has been the epicenter of such social campaigns and messages. Times Square delivers a powerful monolith stage for brands and social rights groups alike to spread their social messages and make a bigger impact through life-size screens and interactive billboards.
Real-Life Social Campaigns
Coca Cola Social Distancing Awareness Campaign
Coca Cola has been capitalizing on the enormous glow of Times Square’s billboards for years. For instance, Coca-Cola rolled out its “Together We Must” campaign in 2020 to show, demand, and encourage racial equality.
In the same year, Coca Cola launched another campaign on social distancing awareness. The company borrowed its Times Square billboard to spread the COVID-19 healthcare message, “Staying apart is the best way to stay united.”
Apart from spreading social distancing awareness, Coca-Cola also takes strict measures against the pandemic for the safety of its staff and customers, such as conducting routine sanitization and cleaning.
Majesco Campaign on Thanking Frontline Workers
Majesco, a leading insurance technology solutions provider, also rolled out a social campaign in the mid-2020 to thank frontline workers and volunteers for their brave efforts to help fight against coronavirus. The campaign aimed to encourage people to help each other in these tough times.
Majesco’s Times Square campaign ran to supplement the same campaign, which had a tremendous impact via social media.
LG Social Campaign Against Global Hunger
In October 2020, LG Electronics launched a social campaign, in celebration of World Food Day, to fight global hunger. The consumer electronics giant created a promotional video that was posted on its Times Square billboard.
The campaign ran for three straight days containing a motivational message to bring people together for the global cause of combating and ending hunger. LG Electronics has dedicated its display boards, under the “LG Hope Screen” program, to NGOs and other international organizations to display public interest and awareness messages.
Human Rights Campaign by George Floyd Justice Billboard Committee
Apart from big brands, human rights and other social activist groups also use the power and eminence of Times Square’s billboards to display social messages. For example, George Floyd’s billboard, FLOYD, depicted a painting by Donald Perlis and citing the Dalai Lama’s quote, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
The billboard was put up by the George Floyd Justice Billboard Committee to trigger discussions on human rights.
PureVPN Unveils Its #ShoutoutAtTimesSquare Campaign
From internet safety to cyberbullying and cyberstalking, PureVPN has always taken a firm stand for a myriad of social causes over the years. Seeing how coronavirus has pulled people, friends, and families apart, wreaking physical and emotional chaos globally, PureVPN strives to bring people together virtually and spread positivity with its #ShoutoutAtTimesSquare campaign.
The campaign is set to run on Times Square billboard for straight 30 days, displaying positive-fueled tweets and Instagram messages from across the globe. Anyone can participate and even encourage their friends and family to do the same.
Want to Get Featured on Times Square?
Join us in Solidarity
Time and again, Times Square has proved to be a platform for people to band together to celebrate celebrations like victories or New Year, as well as mourning. It has also been an ideal place for individual groups and organizations alike to spread public interest messages for the cultural, environmental, and social benefits of a society. Join us to continue spreading goodwill, faith, and the light to all.