Thursday, December 10, 2009

An interactive ad.

I just read about this in The New York Times. There is no link to the article (written by Christopher Shea) so I've pasted the whole thing here. It seems like a startlingly good use of a new technology. Not a gratuitous cool-for-cool's sake use.

"It happens when nobody is watching." As the tagline on a poster raising awareness about domestic violence, that's not bad. But it was the poster itself that was truly attention-grabbing — for it brought the issue of being watched (or not) to life.

The poster, placed in a bus shelter in Berlin, was a one-time installation sponsored by Amnesty International. When a person in the shelter was looking at the poster, he saw, along with the words, a photograph of an amiable couple: a stocky, professional-looking man in a blue oxford-cloth shirt, his arm around the shoulders of his girlfriend or wife. If no one in the shelter was paying attention to the poster, though, the image switched: now the man was raising his fist against the woman as she leaned away and protected her face. (There was a slight lag in the switch, so viewers could notice that the poster was changing its image.)

Designed by the Hamburg-based firm Jung von Matt (which bills itself as being in the business of "attention warfare"), the ad worked via a camera attached to a computer outfitted with face-tracking software with a working range of about 16 feet. A Potsdam company called Vis-à-pix created the technology. Jung von Matt described the ad as the first of its kind, and it won a silver prize at the 2009 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and a gold prize at the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards.

The technology has since improved, according to Vis-à-pix. New posters can even identify the sex of onlookers. Consider a poster created for the service counters of the rental-car company Sixt: when a man gets close, he is tempted with an image of a limousine; if the customer is a woman, she sees, instead, a spunky Cabriolet.


Kelly said...


Creepy in just the right way. Gets a message out better than any static poster could! Thanks for sharing it.

Oh, yeah, and it's nice that such attention-getting could have commercial applications, too. (I have to say that because this is an ad blog, right?)



Anonymous said...

George Orwell owns this company, right?

Hoover said...

Of course the man is hitting the woman.

Even though 50% of domestic arguments are started by women, and a third of domestic violence is initiated by women.