Did you see 2015’s most viral… BILLBOARD? Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you all about it.

Universal Music Canada bought a single billboard on behalf of their client, Drake.   It was bought for 28 days  aside Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway with just 3 words, a number, and a simple graphic .  The billboard below means the 6 God is Watching.  The phrase “6 God” and its accompanying iconography are symbols for Drake’s brand, recognized by fans. The “6” is his nickname for Toronto, derived from its area codes (416 and 647). The praying hands reference the prayer hands emoji, representing, in this instance, “God”—a humble allusion to Drake. The billboard is a subtle promotion for his upcoming album,  Views From the 6. Drake’s one-month, one-billboard media buy garnered more than 86 million impressions in a matter of days.

“That evening, [ November 4] the story went from kids playing with matches to five alarm inferno. Large media outlets published articles on the billboard, speculating about its enigmatic message. Camera crews and photographers were showing up at the billboard as though it were the site of a crashed UFO. Journalists and bloggers were calling the offices of Universal Music and Clear Channel Canada, asking for comment. Headlines like, “What’s The Deal With This Drake Billboard In Toronto?” and “Drake Posts Mysterious ‘6 God’ Billboard in Toronto” hit the homepages of Complex Magazine, MTV, and Billboard Magazine. Canadian television station CityNews covered the story on their primetime news program.” (http://clearchannel.ca/drake-viral-billboard/)

Approximately 24 hours after the billboard “went live,” Twitter mentions had reached over 700 per hour. Various media outlets such as: Pitchfork, Time, GQ, MuchMusic, CBC, Elle,  released articles on the billboard and participated in the social media conversations. The photos, likes tweets, retweets, shares and comments added new aspects to the story. People were talking about the mysterious billboard and how the mysterious billboard is viral.

“According to a report commissioned by Clear Channel Canada and carried out by our friends at Sysomos, the billboard ignited a wildfire of earned media, totalling 86.72 million impressions in 7 days. And this conservative tally excludes broadcast television and much of the individual conversation within Facebook, whose recent API changes limit third-party access to data on content consumption within its platform. All tolled, impressions surely count well north of 100 million.” (http://clearchannel.ca/drake-viral-billboard/)


I know you’re probably be wondering how did this work? Is it because of Drake’s celebrity? No, not necessarily. This works for a number of reasons:

  1. The billboard was simple, yet cryptic. This design implored people to start a conversation about what it could be or mean.
  2. The subtle messaging aligns with Drake as the brand. He is known for the use double-entendre and hidden meanings within his lyrics. As for the “6” and praying hands emoji it has become a recurring theme.
  3. The specific billboard along the expressway garners a minimum of 91,000 views a day. Which is similar to what Jeremy Moon did in the Icebreaker case. He targeted the trend setters that would go back to their friends and family and essentially promote for him, via word of mouth.
  4.  The use of a billboard versus another medium made the billboard that more sticky.
  5. Lastly, this provided an experience for us to witness together. The key to making something sticky is making the person feel like their apart of the story or event. Many fans and non fans went to the expressway and nearby buildings to take pictures of the billboard.


It’s pretty spectacular that a billboard garnered so much attention. I wish I would have come up with this brilliant idea.



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