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Piccadilly Circus advertisement screen adapts to passing vehicles

London’s Piccadilly Lights have been switched back on after nine months of darkness, replacing the original multi-screen setup with just one screen that wraps around the corner.

The refurbishment saw the original Piccadilly Circus patchwork of screens (below) torn out and refitted with a single 780m2 4K LED digital screen and live technology hub.

The technology uses cameras that are able to detect car models and can pre-program specific adverts to automatically trigger when certain vehicles pass by.

The old Piccadilly Lights before the renovation

It also collects information on external factors such as the weather, allowing brands to adapt their advertising to the conditions, for example switching to winter clothes if the temperature drops below a certain level.

In addition, the new boards will provide free Wi-Fi to the area.

Landsec, the owner of Piccadilly Lights, said the technology did not collect or store any personal data, was unable to record images or audio and could not recognise individuals.

In 1908, the first advert in the space was erected by water company Perrier which used incandescent bulbs for permanent illumination. In 1954 Coca Cola purchased the top right spot and the company has maintained a presence on the board ever since.

Since then a series of different technologies have been used to keep it lit up – since 2011, six individual LED screens.

A colourful light display sponsored by members of the public as part of a fundraising campaign for the charity Barnardo’s were the first images to appear on the new screen.

An estimated 100 million people pass through Piccadilly Circus every year, making it one of the world’s prime advertising spaces.

The new display has turned on today for the first time

A single brand will take over the screen every 10 minutes for a 30-second ad, with Coca-Cola, Samsung, Hyundai, L’Oreal Paris, eBay, Hunter and Stella McCartney already using the space.

Landsec portfolio director Vasiliki Arvaniti said: “The Piccadilly Lights have been one of London’s icons for over a century, and are an unmissable sight for the 100 million people who pass through Piccadilly Circus every year.

“We know people have really missed the screen while renovation work has been carried out and both we, and the brands that light up the screen, are incredibly excited to have switched the lights back on today.”

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