New Ad Platform Puts Ideas in Your Head – Innovative, Invasive or Creepy?

By Megan Jackson, Account Service Intern

Globally, how many of us take public transportation to get to work? I know many of us at GSD&M, including myself, take the bus to get around Austin.  Especially after a long day of graduate classes, I will rest my head on the window for the bus ride home. It’s a common behavior for commuters, and BBDO Düsseldorf (Germany) has capitalized on this potential new ad platform. According to Adweek, BBDO Düsseldorf has developed a special window for public transportation that uses a transmitter to silently release high-frequency oscillations that your brain will convert into sound. Essentially, the vibrating train windows transmit advertisements directly into people’s heads. Anyone without their head on the train window can’t hear it. The video states that this technology (called “Bone Conduction”) was previously only used for deaf and the military. Now, it is being tested on tired train commuters as a new medium for advertising.

Although I find this new technology fascinating, I also find it very invasive. Most advertisers strive for inspiring and interactive content. However, if people aren’t aware of this technology, the experience might freak them out. The targeted message may be lost in the confusion or it could leave a negative impression on the commuter. I don’t think I’d appreciate dozing off on a train to be awakened by a voice in my head.

What is your reaction? Could this really be an effective new advertising platform?

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