Last Wednesday (1st February), MKTG in partnership with Strawberry Energy announced the roll out of 10 trial Smart Benches, sponsored by Cancer Research UK to celebrate World Cancer Day which took place on February 4th.
Not only do the benches make use of solar power to offer free Wi-Fi and charging portals to the community, but they allow users to donate £2 via contactless payment to Cancer Research UK, to help fund life- saving research.
Research was carried out with passers-by in areas of Lewisham and Islington where the benches have been installed. In only 7 days, the pilot of 10 benches has proven to be a hit, with the public awarding 9/10 stars for the benches’ “usefulness”. In addition, the benches have collectively totted up 1800 Wi-Fi connections and just short of a 1000 phone charges, with each person spending an average of 9 minutes on each bench. As unique visitors sit at 770, it is evident that people are connecting with the benches more than once.
As well as a great public reception, over 40 media outlets reported coverage of the technology, citing it as revolutionary for the communities were the benches are present, with the BBC branding it as “future of benches in London”.
97% of the bench users think that brands should do more to offer free services like this to the public. Users of the bench were quizzed as to how memorable brands sponsoring a bench would be, and over 7/10 people found Cancer Research UK had left an impression, while 8/10 people found Smart Bench advertising more memorable than other forms of OOH media.
80 more smart benches will be installed later on in the year and MKTG will give brands the chance to sponsor this project which raises their level of public awareness.
A further 85% of users stated that their opinion of a brand would improve if they saw they had sponsored a smart bench, with 97% saying they would talk about it to a friend. This proves that providing an asset to the public which they appreciate and find advantageous raises the level of a brand’s estimation in the public eye.
Christopher Nicola, Head of Urban Partnerships at MKTG, said: “In only one week of launching this smart city project, we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the public, clients and local boroughs. Our initial findings show that people want to see more smart benches in London, whilst also demonstrating a strong business case for brands to consider this new way of engaging with customers. With another ten benches launching by mid-March, smart benches are here to stay and we are excited to expand the London network as part of our portfolio of unique urban partnerships.”
The complete figures from the first week insights can be seen below.