RoadNinja by LAMAR

Expanding Beyond Billboards and into Drivers’ Vehicles

HYPOTHESIS

Lamar Advertising is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the United States. They came to us to help rethink their business for mobile devices. We partnered with Lamar to create RoadNinja, an app that reinvented how travelers get information about exits on the road ahead. Drivers responded by making RoadNinja one of the top 10 travel apps in iTunes.

EXPERIMENT

Our focus was on designing a product that drew on brand recognition of retailers on highway exits. We developed RoadNinja to use the phone's GPS to help users determine what they could find at the exits ahead.

We aggregated and curated point of interest (POI) data from Google Places, Foursquare, Twitter, OPIS (Gas Prices), Hotels.com and Instagram to develop the directory for RoadNinja. We also built the interstate highway and exit data. Another component of RoadNinja was an ad platform that supported day parting for the delivery of offers and promotions.

We developed a mobile web and desktop html version of RoadNinja to extend distribution. Lamar requested an upgraded admin to improve management of ad inventory and to simplify updates to the highway and exit data. The admin system was built in Rails Admin.

In partnership with AT&T Drive Studio, we also designed and prototyped a Connected Car version of RoadNinja. This version was to be voice-driven and updated to align to requirements from the automotive infotainment platform.

TECHNOLOGY STACK
Native iOS and Android

Native App for Apple, Android Devices
Objective-C was used to develop a native Apple iOS application. Android SDK provided development libraries to build a native Android app.

Google Places

Google Maps API
Google Places and Foursquare provided much of the location POI data. Additional engineering was required to accurately follow course at interstate interchanges.

Elastic search - Making data Searchable

Fast, Secure and Scalable Search
Elastic search powers the RoadNinja app's search functionality.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails MVC framework provides default structures for a database, a web service, and web pages.

Rails Admin

RailsAdmin
RailsAdmin engine that provides the administrative back end for managing app promotions plus highway & exit data.

RoadNinja Press
CNN

CNN
"Never travel the interstate alone again.
RoadNinja has your back."

Advertising Age

Advertising Age
Billboards for the 21st Century Point Us to the Route Ahead

Forbes

Forbes
10 Best Apps for Traveling Like a Local

Mashable

Mashable
10 Free Road Trip Apps for a Smooth Vacation

The Next Web

The Next Web
5 Must-Have Apps That Apple Should Have Made Itself

USA Today

USA Today
Tech Toys and Tools Ease Holiday Travel

ANALYSIS

RoadNinja was first launched on iOS in October 2011. The Android version followed soon thereafter.  The app featured promotions from major brands like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Community Coffee, Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, etc. RoadNinja made it possible to deliver targeted promotions and engage customers on the interstate. The app garned press acclaim and had more than 1+ million downloads across the app stores.

BY THE NUMBERS

1+

million

Over 1 million downloads in the Apple and Google marketplace.

84.5

million

App promoted by over 84M digital display placements, across 1K locations and 143 US markets.

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