16 July, 2007

Advertising is Child’s Play

Like everything else on Earth, advertising changes, adapts and evolves to stay new and to keep its purpose from becoming extinct. The most primitive form of advertising comes in the form of a sign that was hung outside shops hundreds of years ago. Those signs eventually turned into newspaper advertising, magazines, outdoor, radio, television, the Internet… the list goes on.

We are always looking for new and exciting ways to get our message to the consumer. High-end technologies and flashy gadgets that promote our message and wow viewers. This was true of the television at its inception, but today advertisers need a new way to reach their target, so why then have they looked back nearly 2,000 years for inspiration?

The zoetrope was invented as a children’s toy in the 1830s by George Horner. However, the earliest known zoetrope was created by a Chinese inventor in 180 A.D. A zoetrope is a cylinder consisting of static pictures and slits cut vertically in the sides that can be spun to make the images appear to be moving. Zoetrope translates from Greek as “life turn,” as you turn it, it comes to life. Now imagine you are inside the zoetrope with life-size pictures and live-action animation.

This antique toy has become the inspiration for a new form of advertising. The concept is simple – place linear pictures along the walls of subway tunnels in a way that makes them come to life as passengers pass by in the subway cars. However, execution may be a bit tougher. A twenty second ad consists of a string of pictures stretching about 1,000 feet and is made up of approximately 4,800 frames in 3 foot boxes.




Two of the pioneering companies are Canada’s Sidetrack and Submedia in New York, and a few of the many advertisers that are already partaking include Microsoft, Target, Lexus, and Coca-Cola.

Transits have swallowed an initial cost of up to $1.4 million, but are seeing an amazing return on investment because the price of placing an ad is running anywhere between $35,000 to $250,000 a month.

If you’re interested in experiencing this “ground-breaking” advertising all you have to do is take a ride on the Red Line in Washington D.C., Chicago’s “L” Train, or trains in Boston, New York, London, Tokyo and others.

--Nick Piche, Copywriter

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1 others 'fessed up:

Remonster July 16, 2007 at 4:42 PM  

Man, that's as cool as a shaved head on a hot summer day!

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