"Buildering" is an activity during which daring climbers scale urban structures -- with or without safety ropes -- and usually end up getting arrested. It also usually generates lots of publicity.
When Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi were dreaming up an outdoor ad campaign to introduce the RAV4 Hybrid to the world, they also wanted to take some risks. But only the conceptual kind.
The result was a 10-story climbable billboard in New York's Times Square that blew through the visual clutter of the plaza and created instant buzz on social media.
"Sometimes, you have to do something that puts some new kind of risk to it," said Jack Hollis, Toyota's vice president of marketing.
The sight of amateur and professional rock climbers scaling the outside of a building in the iconic square last month generated thousands of gawkers who immediately posted to social media. The old-school billboard -- because of its scale -- quickly found its way to the new-school media that dominate consumer eyeballs.
That was by design. "It doesn't really make a lot of sense to have a climbing wall in New York City," Hollis said, meaning that it was bound to get extra attention. "Our expectations were to get people who would probably not necessarily talk about a hybrid and a climbing wall in Times Square to start talking about it."