Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Voices inside my head... telling me to follow them on Twitter
July 9, 2013 7:52 AM   Subscribe

German media company Sky Deutschland is looking at ways to promote its app. One of the ways it is considering is advertising directly inside people's heads, through bone conduction. The ads would be heard by commuters leaning their heads against train windows and would be otherwise inaudible. Ad agency BBDO said it had received "highly encouraging first reactions" from commuters who tested the kit; feedback from the public at large has been less than enthusiastic.
posted by ricochet biscuit (94 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows," says the ad.

"Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No-one else can hear this message."


Tired commuters do this because they want to rest. This seems like the wrong time to pitch ads at them. It would enrage me, that's for sure.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:01 AM on July 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


Farnsworth: It's very simple. The ad gets into your brain just like this liquid gets into this egg. Although, in reality, it's not liquid, but gamma radiation.

Fry: That's awful. It's like brainwashing.

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?

Fry: Well, sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies and at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and T-shirts and written in the sky. But not in dreams. No, sir-ee!
posted by fight or flight at 8:01 AM on July 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


1984 was not a fucking manual, people.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 AM on July 9, 2013 [34 favorites]


The ad jamming opportunities abound here.
posted by jquinby at 8:03 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the next step down the road to Transmetropolitan, isn't it.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:03 AM on July 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


All this is gonna do is make public transportation even shittier, further convincing people that public transit is for lower classes and people without the means to live comfortably and without irritation.

I love advertising, I love innovative use of mediums, I love cool technology. This is at the nexus of all things I love. Know what else I love? Fucking respecting people, instead of treating them like shit.

Ads like this are violently invasive. They treat their potential market like targets to be hunted. And people ought to respond to them with a proportional amount of violence. People graffiti over billboards; I'd love if somebody smashed in a couple of subway windows to protest this. Let the people who have to pay for buses and trains decide if these ads are worth the risk of damage to their goddamn property.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:04 AM on July 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Ah, a "small technical device". I have one of those around here somewhere.

Also this sounds like one of those ad campaigns that's more about getting people to talk about the campaign than it is about the campaign itself. I bet if you actually leaned your head against one of these windows you'd hear something like "aroo chkkc$&&.. [train rumble]. Frt [transcript inaudible]" -- but if you watch the promo video you get to hear the slogan six times.
posted by ook at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


1984 was not a fucking manual, people.

The Junior Anti-Sex League made sure of that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


if a train window rickrolls me inside my own head, man i am gonna be pissed
posted by entropone at 8:07 AM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ads like this are violently invasive.

You are only saying that because it's new. Try using an adblocker in your browser for 6 months, then turn it off or stop watching broadcast TV for the same period and go back and you'll realize that pretty much ALL ads are violently invasive.
posted by DU at 8:08 AM on July 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


Let the people who have to pay for buses and trains decide if these ads are worth the risk of damage to their goddamn property.

Big talk, but it ain't gonna happen. Observe the parking meter system in use in Chicago; expensive meters which could be easily disabled, meters which represent a hated parking system. Are these units damaged in large numbers? Nope.

People like to talk about social disobedience and "direct action" but when it comes down to actually doing something, the overwhelming majority do nothing but grumble, and maybe watch a different TV station. The minority who do something disperse their efforts in pointless ways, like dragging some asinine puppet to a protest. Woo! Stick it to the Man with puppetry!
posted by aramaic at 8:10 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


You are only saying that because it's new.

...

you'll realize that pretty much ALL ads are violently invasive.

... So because it's new and violently invasive?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:10 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's hilarious that they think those little stick-on devices are going to stay put. I'd tear it right the fuck off and go back to sleep.
posted by orme at 8:11 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This was also done by a billboard that did not require you to lean against anything.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:14 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A majority of Sky Deutschland is owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.
posted by grouse at 8:16 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


... So because it's new and violently invasive?

No, he's saying it's violently invasive because he's noticing it. So he's only against this kind of ad. But if you step away from ads entirely for a while and come back to them, you realize they are all violently invasive.
posted by DU at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


A majority of Sky Deutschland is owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

It makes sense that they would be promoting this as so many of their employees and customers already hear voices in their heads. Why not add one more to the chorus?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:19 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we agree that they're all, in fact, violently invasive and also not want to add another one to the growing shitpile of daily invasions?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:20 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think that one of the endangered resources of the 21st Century is going to be attention. You only have so much of it -- Work, sleep, and dealing with the processes of living probably eat up 18-20 hours for most people, most days. That remaining time, often chopped into small pieces, is really precious. And advertisers want to take a big chunk of it. It's crazy-making, having your attention constantly colonized by others, and one of the reasons why being randomly accosted on the street often feels violating -- because that person robbed you of a piece of your attention that you were probably applying to your own ends.

There's also the angle that people can't bug you on the phone as much, since so many people have cell phones and are almost utterly hostile to having their calling plans poached by telemarketers. Now the same telemarketers want to bypass the phone and just call directly into your head....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:25 AM on July 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:26 AM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tired commuters do this because they want to rest. This seems like the wrong time to pitch ads at them. It would enrage me, that's for sure.

In my own case (having taken more than a few trains in Germany and indeed dozed on some of them), there is the fact that German is my third language, so being woken by a random rattling buzz passing on info in a not-especially-familiar tongue might be less than maximally productive.

I also enjoy the BBDO spokesbeing's game attempts at showcasing spin-off possibilities: "Some people don´t like advertising in general. But this is really a new technology. [It might] not only be used for advertising, but also for music, entertainment, mass transport information, weather reports and so on." I think that is a superb notion: not only can the latest boy-band product be sent directly into your skull, but I enjoy the notion that important transport information will be channeled to the fraction of a percent of commuters who are semi-conscious.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, he's saying it's violently invasive because he's noticing it. So he's only against this kind of ad. But if you step away from ads entirely for a while and come back to them, you realize they are all violently invasive.

All right, so Rory is Wrong for liking other kinds of ads, but disliking this one. You both still agree, as I do, that this kind is bad.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2013


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

This would be why all telemarketing calls have ceased.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:29 AM on July 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Minority Report was not a manual, people!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:29 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some people think it was.
posted by Gordafarin at 8:32 AM on July 9, 2013


TheWhiteSkull: "Minority Report was not a manual, people!"

For some reason, Cruise's "Mister Yamamoto!" line was my favorite one of the movie.
posted by jquinby at 8:34 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This just in: Company runs completely ludicrous idea up flagpole knowing that tech sites will pick it up, thus achieving advertising goals anyway. Film at 10.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:36 AM on July 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

This would be why all telemarketing calls have ceased.


For some reason my spam box doesn't seem to be getting any smaller and the ratio of actual to junk snail mail creeps ever upward just like the number of ads to article content of the periodicals I read despite the many protests.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:37 AM on July 9, 2013


Google also plans to use the tech in its forthcoming Glass headset.

This made me laugh. Poor old Google Glass. The headlines are like:
BUNCH OF JERKS PROTOTYPE SHITTY, INVASIVE, TASTELESS NEW ADVERTISING TECH
ENTIRE THINKING WORLD UNITED IN REVULSION AT INHUMANITY, CRASS AVARACIOUSNESS OF CONCEPT
GOOGLE IN LICENSING TALKS
posted by No-sword at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

This would be why all telemarketing calls have ceased.

For some reason my spam box doesn't seem to be getting any smaller and the ratio of actual to junk snail mail creeps ever upward just like the number of ads to article content of the periodicals I read despite the many protests.


Spam doesn't really work the same way, since it costs the advertisers approximately nothing to send it to you, and the periodical market is still trying to sort itself out in the Internet world. You can pretty easily hold someone to account for this campaign. (On the other hand, they've just put a voice recorded audio ads on the buses around here, and those don't seem like they're going to go away soon...)
posted by Going To Maine at 8:40 AM on July 9, 2013


>The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

This would be why all telemarketing calls have ceased.


Good point, if somewhat sarcastically put (too bad), but telemarketing and this sort of prestige advertising are nowhere near the same thing, and exist in different niches in the marketing mix.

This new technology is all about creating discussion, rather than transmitting a particular message to "consumers" riding the train. So if you're an early-adopter advertiser using this technology, you're going to get exposure simply for using the technology. And if your intended audience complains about the technology, you are going to stop using it.

While we may live in a Brazil-like dystopia, as consumers with dollars (rather than citizens with inherent rights) we still have some power should we choose to exercise it.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 AM on July 9, 2013


Minority Report was not a manual, people!

Still feels like the most prescient sci-fi movie to me, precogs aside.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

This would be why all telemarketing calls have ceased.

Good point, if somewhat sarcastically put (too bad), but telemarketing and this sort of prestige advertising are nowhere near the same thing, and exist in different niches in the marketing mix.


Actually, I think this is sincere? The number of telemarketing calls I get thanks to the Do Not Call list is approximately nil.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:43 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


> All this is gonna do is make public transportation even shittier, further convincing people that public transit is for lower classes and people without the means to live comfortably and without irritation.

Since this post is about a German ad campaign, I feel like I have to point out that this seems to be a distinctively American perception of public transportation. I’ve never heard anyone from Germany link buses, trams and trains to poverty.
posted by wachhundfisch at 8:46 AM on July 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


1) so, would a tinfoil hat actually block this out?
2) don't lean your head against the window, it has someone else's head grease all over it that's disgusting
3) augh
posted by windykites at 8:47 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now children, everyone put your head down on your desk, close your eyes and listen to the nice commercials...
posted by jim in austin at 8:48 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The number of telemarketing calls I get thanks to the Do Not Call list is approximately nil.

The number of telemarketing calls I get thanks to the Do Not Call list is approximately the same as it was prior to the list thanks to "terms of service" agreements that bypass the list.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:50 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


1984 was not a fucking manual, people.

I think they found the correct fucking manual, actually.
In a vastly overpopulated world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge trans-national corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and by far the best-paid profession. Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that the quality of life is improved by all the products placed on the market. ...
Also:
“I don’t have to tell you men that Point-of-Sale has its special problems,” Harvey said, puffing his thin cheeks. “I swear, the whole damned government must be infiltrated with Consies! You know what they’ve done. They outlawed compulsive subsonics in our aural advertising— but we’ve bounced back with a list of semantic cue words that tie in with every basic trauma and neurosis in American life today. They listened to the safety cranks and stopped us from projecting our messages on aircar windows— but we bounced back. Lab tells me”— he nodded to our Director of Research across the table—“that soon we’ll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.
posted by maudlin at 8:54 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This has nothing to do with the austere war economy of 1984 and has everything to do with the shiny happy consumerist utopia of Brave New World, you kneejerk philistines.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


The number of telemarketing calls I get thanks to the Do Not Call list is approximately nil.

That must be heaven.

(Fuck you, Rachel from Cardmember Services)
posted by dirigibleman at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this. Is it the "inside your HEAD!!!" part of the write up that is making everyone reach for the Sci Fi dystopian analogues? I mean, as far as unblockable intrusiveness goes, this is actually massively lower on the scale than, say, billboards. I could ride on the train about 100 times without ever being aware that this system was in operation; I can't not see the billboards in the train unless I'm blind.
posted by yoink at 9:00 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this.

You've never had an hour and 15 minute commute where you're trying to nap, and your head rolls onto the window. You are no longer allowed to do this, you must listen to an ad if you want to rest your head.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:04 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let the people who have to pay for buses and trains decide if these ads are worth the risk of damage to their goddamn property.

Huh? In most places the trains and buses are public property (more or less) and their upkeep is paid for by the general public either through taxes, fees to ride, or other revenues to the public coffer. They are our goddamn property, and it is hard to see how we will benefit from smashing them up.

If this comes to pass, I think targeting the advertisers shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. Spam and junk mail are a bad analogy because a lot of those media are off-brand stuff without readily identifiable "corporate citizens" behind them, eager to protect their reputations: coupon clippers, penny stocks, pharmaceutical mail-order, ie, low-end third-party retailers.

All in all, it would be more interesting to talk about how to prevent this from coming to pass, but I admit to having no particular strategies to suggest...
posted by nequalsone at 9:05 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Worse, if you just want to close your eyes and rest to escape the nonstop barrage that is modern advertising, guess what?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:05 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This reminds me a lot of those audio urinal ads they came out with a few years back! Similarly, they played audio for people who were in a kind-of-captive situation; a motion sensor would see that you were there in front of the urinal to pee, and would then play a prerecorded message. Anyway, they could easily be destroyed by pushing something sharp into the speaker or motion sensor. I haven't seen one for maybe four or five years now.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:06 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apocryphon: "This has nothing to do with the austere war economy of 1984 and has everything to do with the shiny happy consumerist utopia of Brave New World, you kneejerk philistines."

Even so:

He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet -- everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed -- no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.
posted by jquinby at 9:08 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


You've never had an hour and 15 minute commute where you're trying to nap, and your head rolls onto the window. You are no longer allowed to do this, you must listen to an ad if you want to rest your head.

I'm sure that's a pain for the dedicated train-window-sleepers out there, but given the vast number of public spaces which have audio pumped into them that we cannot turn off if we wish to do so, I find it frankly rather bizarre that the addition of audio to this one pretty minor niche (train windows? really?) is leading to all these comparisons to 1984.
posted by yoink at 9:14 AM on July 9, 2013


This reminds me a lot of those audio urinal ads they came out with a few years back! Similarly, they played audio for people who were in a kind-of-captive situation; a motion sensor would see that you were there, and play a prerecorded message.

That idea reminds me of a poster I once saw in a bar's bathroom. It hung over the toilet. On it, an attractive woman, whose eyes would have been at about eye level if you stood to piss, held her finger and her thumb close together. A slogan at the bottom asked whether you were man enough to buy Product X.

I was surprised it hadn't been defaced.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:14 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this.

Seriously? I guess sleep deprivation is more like an "enhanced interrogation technique" than torture... so um, no problem here.
posted by nequalsone at 9:18 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this. Is it the "inside your HEAD!!!" part of the write up that is making everyone reach for the Sci Fi dystopian analogues? I mean, as far as unblockable intrusiveness goes, this is actually massively lower on the scale than, say, billboards. I could ride on the train about 100 times without ever being aware that this system was in operation; I can't not see the billboards in the train unless I'm blind.

With regard to billboards: quoth Lisa Simpson, just don't look. In this country (at least on the most heavily trafficked Windsor-Quebec Corridor, there are no billboards visible from the train unless the train happens to be passing through a town. Even if there were, I could read a book or watch a DVD or just nap and miss them all. This is more along the lines of audible advertising being piped in and even bypassing any countermeasures one might have in place for that (earplugs, earphones). And the notion that the designated targets, according to the promo, are "tired commuters," this is much like a marketer approaching an advertiser and saying that their research has shown that most people are home between midnight and 6:00 AM, which means this is the optimum time for telemarketing calls.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:24 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


...this one pretty minor niche (train windows? really?) is leading to all these comparisons to 1984.

FWIW, my throwaway comment, if we're going to beanplate this, was a reference to the way private space was entirely eliminated by policy, not necessarily by the technical capability being employed.

I forget the name of the book, but there's another scifi story wherein an orbiting satellite is charged with maintaining a populace at only a certain level of technical development, literally invading and muddling their thoughts if they turned to things like carts with wheels instead of sleds.
posted by odinsdream at 9:28 AM on July 9, 2013


Seems like kind of a half-hearted deployment effort. They should lobby congress to pass a law requiring conduction ad technology be included in all future vibrators.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:29 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


But if you step away from ads entirely for a while and come back to them, you realize they are all violently invasive.

Dude, you are so far off the mark that I can't tell if this is bizarre trolling or if you are possessed by a dire ravenstag or what.

No one is upset about this because it's new and change is scary, they're upset because it is an ad that is being vibrated into your fucking head. It's fucking creepy.
posted by elizardbits at 9:31 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've heard of capturing mindshare, but this is ridiculous!
posted by comealongpole at 9:34 AM on July 9, 2013


I forget the name of the book, but there's another scifi story wherein an orbiting satellite is charged with maintaining a populace at only a certain level of technical development...

Dingers! Dingers!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:39 AM on July 9, 2013


They should lobby congress to pass a law requiring conduction ad technology be included in all future vibrators.

Transvaginal MK-Ultrasounds
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:44 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure that's a pain for the dedicated train-window-sleepers out there, but given the vast number of public spaces which have audio pumped into them that we cannot turn off if we wish to do so, I find it frankly rather bizarre that the addition of audio to this one pretty minor niche (train windows? really?) is leading to all these comparisons to 1984.

Except you can wear headphones/earbuds/earplugs/whatever and block out audio ads. This technology seems to be designed to short circuit that escape.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:49 AM on July 9, 2013


This is 500% preferable to the TVs blaring ads and entertainment "news" at the gas pumps. Public transportation wins again.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:50 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh. I wrote a piece of really bad short science fiction once that had a character who got infected by an ad-bug (a lab-engineered bug that injected advertising into his dreams) when he accidentally nodded off with his head against the window of a public commuter train. Who knew you could really catch advertising that way now...
posted by saulgoodman at 9:51 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


they're upset because it is an ad that is being vibrated into your fucking head

Every audio ad ever is "vibrated into your head." These are far, far easier to escape than anything played over a loudspeaker system.

If you are a regular commuter who always chooses to sleep with your head against the train window then pack a small square of high density foam in your briefcase/backpack/jacket pocket, whatever and hey, presto, your commute sleep just got a thousand times more comfortable and the insidious tentacles of Big Brother "vibrating into your head" just got cockblocked for good and all.
posted by yoink at 9:55 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


About three months ago I was afflicted with the most terrible anxiety of my life. Part of it was panic attacks that make me thought I was going crazy, unable to think straight, worrying if I was psychotic or schizophrenic.

This would have put me over the fucking edge. It's completely irresponsible and I can't believe people actually thought this could possibly be a good idea.
posted by Talez at 9:58 AM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Future Will Be A Totalitarian Government Dystopia vs. The Future Will Be A Privatized Corporate Dystopia
posted by Apocryphon at 10:13 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Future = Paranoia + Time
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:16 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


As is, it's a terrible idea. But maybe, once they're hacked to replace the ads with new messages, it'll be better.

"Tu was du willst, soll sein das ganze des Gesetzes."
posted by frimble at 10:17 AM on July 9, 2013


I can't get the video to play, but it's surprising to me that this would work very well. I tested a bone-anchored hearing aid once; it has to press uncomfortably firmly against your skull to work. (If you actually get one they implant a contact point behind your ear.) Seems like it would be very easy to shift away and not hear it, unless the technology has really changed in the last couple of years.

It absolutely is a creepy idea, though.
posted by yarrow at 10:19 AM on July 9, 2013


I can't get the video to play

You have to put your head against the monitor.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Heh.

If the tech actually did work, it could have useful applications - you could broadcast the sound for a movie on a plane or bus without fiddling with headsets.
posted by yarrow at 10:29 AM on July 9, 2013


A headset is probably better and cheaper when the listener actually wants to hear your message, and agrees to a minimum of cooperation. This is designed to catch people unaware and make sure every possible minute of your time is sold to someone for advertising.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:31 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm imagining this on one of those days when I'm already exhausted from a long day and have a blinding headache besides. Uggggh.
posted by Andrhia at 10:34 AM on July 9, 2013


Anyway, they could easily be destroyed by pushing something sharp into the speaker or motion sensor. I haven't seen one for maybe four or five years now.

Yes, I am wondering if these geniuses have seen what people do to/on trains and buses in many places. I would assume first you could block it with some sort of padding, and second that the bored kids that graffiti the train using steel wool on the windows will be delighted to have a new target.

It's still creepy, but looks doomed or easily disabled.
posted by emjaybee at 10:36 AM on July 9, 2013


Even in the promo video, the commuters who hear the ad are shown recoiling in confusion and possibly disgust. Guess they couldn't pay actors to even pretend this was a good idea.
posted by mark7570 at 10:36 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this.

It's the idea that any moment you're not experiencing an ad is a wasted opportunity that must be exploited. And it's also the giddiness that they use in describing it, expecting us to go, "Oh cool, I want to hear what that sounds like!" Any time some marketer talks at me about how they're improving my life somehow by advertising shit to me it grates.
posted by Legomancer at 10:50 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


The quickest way to get rid of the technology is to complain to the advertiser who uses it.

No, the quickest way to get rid of it is to carry a magnet around with you.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:57 AM on July 9, 2013


I don't quite get the OUTRAGE OUTRAGE over this. Is it the "inside your HEAD!!!" part of the write up that is making everyone reach for the Sci Fi dystopian analogues? I mean, as far as unblockable intrusiveness goes, this is actually massively lower on the scale than, say, billboards. I could ride on the train about 100 times without ever being aware that this system was in operation; I can't not see the billboards in the train unless I'm blind.

Or we could not insert fucking advertising into every last empty space in the world.

"Here's some advertising built into your grocery cart that lets the products on the shelves call out to you while you shop! And the kids version in their mini cart!"

"Merging onto the freeway? Here's a commercial for Jiffy Lube before the light turns green!"

"Tucking your child in? Why not let their Story Time Teddy Bear tell them a few fairy tales to help them drift off? And what's a couple of short ads in between Cinderella and Snow White?"
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:03 AM on July 9, 2013


Meaning of Life = Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:08 AM on July 9, 2013


This sounds perfect for subversive counter-culture messages.

READ! CONSUME LESS! TRY THE VEAL!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:17 AM on July 9, 2013


Oh, and I'm not sure it's 1984 or Brave New World they're using as a manual, but rather this historical documentary.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:21 AM on July 9, 2013


They lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me
And if the glass hums, thunder in your ear
They shout and only you can hear
And if the car you're in starts singing in the rain
I'll see you on the dark side of the train
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


And what's a couple of short ads in between Cinderella and Snow White?

What do you mean between?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2013


Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.


Jesus! We're working on it! Tell the boys at P&G that we'll have it sorted just as soon as we get the chips in everyone's heads. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:32 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or we could not insert fucking advertising into every last empty space in the world.

Somehow I'm failing to grasp how an advertisement that I only hear when I press my head against a train window represents a stunning leap forward in ubiquitous advertising that justifies comparisons to Minority Report and 1984. Compared to such old-tech as billboards and radio ads this is incredibly unobtrusive and avoidable. If the point is "let's clear some of the clutter of commercial messaging out of our lives" ads that I only hear when I press my head against train windows would be about #257 on my list of shitty commercial head-space pollution. The ad on the bus shelter, the ad on the bus shelter seat, the ads on cardboard slides along the interior of the bus, the ads printed on the sides of the bus, the ads on the backs of the bus seats, the ads on the video screen at the front of the bus etc. etc. etc. are all massively more obtrusive on my consciousness than an ad that I would only hear if I pressed my fricking head against the bus window.
posted by yoink at 11:55 AM on July 9, 2013


Compared to such old-tech as billboards and radio ads this is incredibly unobtrusive and avoidable.

I'll give you avoidable, but nonconcentually vibrating sounds into my head when I'm just trying to rest is pretty much the definition of obtrusive.

But more to your point, sure those other things are even more in your face, but that does not explain why it is fine to add to them. Why don't we start reducing the total volume of advertising altogether rather than adding this because it's not more obtrusive than what we already have?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:02 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


And that's how why noise cancelling bone phones were invented.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:20 PM on July 9, 2013


From a purely technological perspective I find this quite cool, however like others I don't welcome its many implications.

What irks me the most about this, is not the mode of advertising itself but the attitude behind its creation; an attitude of supremacy/ dominance. I imagine the advertiser sees the "tired commuter" not as an individual with his own worries and concerns, but rather as an actor in the advertiser's play. Our fictional advertiser fantasizes over the idea of selling some comforting product or vacation to the weary, but surely thankful, pleb. The advertiser takes the place of a savior who comforts the lesser being, embracing him through the otherwise cold glass.

The obtrusion into daily life in this case doesn't just stem from the sound waves, it comes from the arrogance of someone claiming such a large stake of reality for themselves, and then imposing this vision on others. In creating his campaign, the advertiser pushes aside the meanings and fantasies of others, because only his will be professionally produced by a large crew, and distributed nation-wide, only his vision will be "real".
posted by BorgesianSisyphus at 12:22 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry, adblock+ will take care of this!
posted by maxwelton at 12:29 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The number of telemarketing calls I get thanks to the Do Not Call list is approximately nil.

Lucky you. I get several a day. The volume has ramped up considerably just in recent weeks. Win a cruise, get your carpets cleaned. It's just constant. Go ahead and complain to the FCC; nobody gives a shit. Even if they did they just change numbers.
posted by Fnarf at 12:35 PM on July 9, 2013


The ad on the bus shelter, the ad on the bus shelter seat, the ads on cardboard slides along the interior of the bus, the ads printed on the sides of the bus, the ads on the backs of the bus seats, the ads on the video screen at the front of the bus etc. etc. etc. are all massively more obtrusive on my consciousness than an ad that I would only hear if I pressed my fricking head against the bus window.

No they're not: there is nothing else in the natural or man-made environment, as encountered by most people without a hearing aid, that works like this. Unless you are Beethoven holding a stick between your teeth, you are probably unaware of bone conduction of sound. This is a new form of sensory experience for most people, and the use case we come up with is advertising: not very encouraging for our future as a species.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:37 PM on July 9, 2013


Can you hack it? Transmit "murrrrrder him, he's looking at you funny, Satan is real, murrrrrrder her" instead?
posted by Fnarf at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Google also plans to use the tech in its forthcoming Glass headset.

I think that's to remove the 'Hey! Everybody sharing public transport with me! Listen to my tinny-arsed headphones!' syndrome - though perhaps you'll be able to get a pair of Glass cheaper if you submit to some ad content.
posted by Sparx at 1:26 PM on July 9, 2013


About three months ago I was afflicted with the most terrible anxiety of my life. Part of it was panic attacks that make me thought I was going crazy, unable to think straight, worrying if I was psychotic or schizophrenic.

This would have put me over the fucking edge. It's completely irresponsible and I can't believe people actually thought this could possibly be a good idea.


I was wondering when someone was going to bring this point up. Thank you. It's completely irresponsible, especially that fucking billboard that beams sound into a pinpoint on the sidewalk.
posted by odinsdream at 1:35 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Observe the parking meter system in use in Chicago; expensive meters which could be easily disabled

Any suggestions on how to do that? I love the idea.
posted by crazy_yeti at 2:52 PM on July 9, 2013


Construction epoxies are truly marvelous bits of chemistry, and can be valuable contributors to any project. I encourage you to ask your construction team for the latest developments in disposable-injector construction adhesives. The major brands have a wide array of offerings at various price points, suitable for nearly any use. Their foundation anchor products are especially intriguing, due to their many advantages in speed, flexibility of use, and durability. Where a steel rod might normally suffice, you can trade time for money and use a modern "chemical anchor".

Keep in mind, of course, that inappropriate usage of construction adhesives is not advised under any circumstances since they can be highly resistant to removal by common solvents or mechanical pressure. But, used properly, they offer the building owner many advantages.
posted by aramaic at 4:17 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Invasive? Not really. It's those injectable nano-transmitters that can't be turned off...

Oh, shit. I've said too much.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:07 PM on July 9, 2013


Why not just blare BUY OREO COOKIES!!!! over a loudspeaker to everyone on the train? Why is it OK to do it to one person, the one who is sleeping no less?
posted by theuninvitedguest at 8:08 PM on July 9, 2013


« Older Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Au...  |  How easy is it to fake mental ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments