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The Almighty Buck

Animated Ads in a Subway Near You 304

prostoalex writes "A company called Sub Media claims a successful launch of motion-picture ads in New York subway. The ad agency, created by a PhD in Astrophysics, prints ads on Kodak transparencies, so that when the train speeds up, the resulting images create a full-blown motion picture. The first ever ad of this was run for Target in NY, and there is another one planned for Discovery Channel."
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Animated Ads in a Subway Near You

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  • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:18PM (#4085173) Journal
    As long as they aren't pop up ads...
    • Re:Danger! Danger! (Score:3, Informative)

      by martyn s ( 444964 )
      The thing you have to keep in mind is you can't just plaster a bunch of frames on the subway walls to make it look animated. They have to use these special lenses that makes each frame always in the same spot relative to you. So the shape of these lenses do the following. You're looking at a frame and it's directly in front of you. Then you move over an inch, and it's still directly in front of you. And then another inch, and again, it's still directly in front of you. Until, the last inch, suddenly the next frame appears exactly where the last frame was: directly in front of you. So it's this continuous thing where there is always a frame *directly* in front of you. If you didn't have those lenses it wouldn't work.
      • In switzerland, they just plaster up the frames on the wall at equal spacing, and then flash a stroboscope at the proper frequency. Instead of moving the film over the projector, the projector moves over the film...
  • Well, at least its kinda cool
  • Wow... (Score:1, Funny)

    by gibbdog ( 551209 )
    Will they charge for the in-transit movies?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The train which takes you from Narita (the Tokyo airport) into Tokyo has displays like this. Yahoo used to have an ad that would display for a few minutes. It's pretty cool.
    • I've been on that subway, it (the implementation) is cool. they have red LEDs spread along the wall next to the tracks and the ads "chase" alongside the train as it zips down the track so it floats outside the window. Quite surreal to watch.
    • Just came back from Athens, where this is up and running, in full-annoyance mode, showing really cheesy Coca-Cola ads. FWIW, I think this was either on Grammh 2 between Panepistimio and Omonoia or on Grammh 3 between Evaggelismos and Syntagma (or both?).
  • I personally hate ads. We are bombarded with them on tv, on the internet, and in the real world. With ads in subways, this has gone too far... I suppose I will have to drive my suv to the local market now instead of taking the subway.
    • Have you been in a subway for oh, I dunno, the past 30 years? There are already ads plastered all over them, in stations and on trains.
    • I hate ads to but, if this gives transit authorities more revenue to expand and enhance service, I'm all for it.
    • You do realize that the advertising subsidizes the cost of the subway, right?

      Personally I would rather have advertising than higher subway rates.

    • While I've only ridden BART to work for about two months now, I've found that having a book handy is a far better way to spend time than staring off into space.

      I just wish there were some pager or something you could wear which would vibrate when you got to your stop; I'm one of those people who can get so lost in a book that I'll occassionally miss my stop.

    • Ads have been on public transit for years. God knows how many time's I've been inundated with the annoying "Kick the Nick" guy that the BC Health Board has for anti-smoking commercials (Christ, that ad almost makes me want to start smoking).

      This is just a revamp of an old advertising system. I personally think it's cool. At least it's not like the intrusive annoying "planted advertisers" that Sony is putting around city streets with their cameras posing as tourists.

      Driving a car won't help that.

      Personally, I enjoy a good book on transit, so I never really pay attention to transit ads anymore anyways. I can't do that if I'm driving a car...
  • by Greenrider ( 451799 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:22PM (#4085200)
    Here's a fairly recent article about this from the Boston Globe [google.com]

    (Google cache link, since the original story is now archived)
  • If I only had a way to choose 'Block Images from this Server' when riding the train..
  • by xjerky ( 128399 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:22PM (#4085202)
    ....which replaced the Target ad. On the PATH train from New Jersey running between 14th and 23rd Street Stations in Manhattan, left side of tunnel.
  • Phew... (Score:4, Funny)

    by bacontaco ( 126431 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:22PM (#4085204)
    I thought for a second they were talking about the restaurant Subway... And to think my 200-pound weigh loss diet was in jeopardy! I'd hate to see animated ads with the big old flabby Jarrod and the new, skinnier one...
    • Wouldn't that make your diet more successful? I know that seeing full motion ads of "old flabby Jarrod" would make me lose my appetite. Yeesh.
  • How does this sell a product more effectively than any other medium? Sounds more like a cutesy way for an ad agency to bill out more hours and pat itself on the back while marveling at its own creativity.
  • IIRC this technology was first proposed in the book _Time_Eenough_for_Love_ by Fred Saberhagen. Does anyone remember when that came out?

    -C
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The T? The Metro? Don't make me laugh.

    In fact, the ad wasn't even on the NYC subway system -- it was on the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) trains, which is run by the Port Authority of New York and NJ. The subway is run by the MTA.
  • OMG.... Dare we say it? Subway flip-book p0rn?
  • spiffy real media demo from forbes at:
    http://www.forbes.com/2002/08/15/0815subway.h tml
  • problem (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jonny Ringo ( 444580 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:24PM (#4085226)
    This will be very confusing for the New York subway graffiti culture.
    • Actually, it might provide them with a totally new medium. Since the ads are merely multiple pictures on the tunnel wall, if they could get down into the subway tunnel, they could "enhance" the whole ad with nothing but good old-fashioned krylon. Imagine how amusing it would be to see full-motion graffiti!
    • Re:problem (Score:4, Funny)

      by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:56PM (#4085492) Homepage Journal
      Coming soon to a subway near you, ANIMATED GRAFFITI!

      Apparently, the hoodlums spray paint a bunch of individual pictures right next to each other so that passengers on a train speeding by are greeted with a pleasant short film about pimping and whoring. The effect has been likened to a giant "flip book."

      ~GoRK
      • Animations by subway tunnel spray-painting hoodlums? Of what, former subway tunnel spray-painting hoodlum gore bits moving around? =)
    • ...Sub-culture?
  • by Loligo ( 12021 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:27PM (#4085254) Homepage

    The article headline didn't go as far with it as they could have.

    "And the words of the PROFITS are written on the subway walls..."

    -l
  • Is it just me or is this a stupid idea? Almost no one who rides the subway is actively looking out the windows at the subway walls. Hell, many of the subway seats actually face away from the walls, towards the inside of the car. That picture at the top of the ABCNews.com article is priceless: all those images are flickering by behind the commuters! Yeah, they can look out the opposite window, but what incentive is there for people to do that? It's not like TV where there's something interesting to watch and then a commerical pop up. There's nothing interesting on the subway walls so who's going to be looking there? Everyone either zones out or brings something to read on the subway.

    Advertisers must be getting desperate...

    GMD

    • by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:38PM (#4085348)
      True, not all the seats face the ads... however... a billboard only faces one direction of the highway. Ad costs are based (generally) on how many viewers will see the ad. An ad during the Super Bowl costs a lot. An ad in a small town newspaper costs a lot less. The fact that not every single person on the subway sees the ad isn't a big issue.

      As much as I hate the ads plastered everywhere these days, I think this isn't a half-bad idea. A lot of the people riding the subway have nothing better to do. As you note, they often "zone out". Those people will probably view the ad, especially if it's interesting (think of the possibilities of a long-running story type campaign). Here's a situation where a lot of people have nothing better to do-- as opposed to pop up ads where I'm trying to do something else but the ads interrupt me.

      • Here's a situation where a lot of people have nothing better to do-- as opposed to pop up ads where I'm trying to do something else but the ads interrupt me.

        So there's this new law of the universe that says that looking at advertising is better than doing nothing. Frankly I'm just fine standing somewhere without being sold to, and I don't think that the default use of public space (how many subways are privately funded?) is best dedicated to commerce. Call me a communist, but I don't think that people on the subway "have nothing better to do".
        • I've don't ride a subway, but I do ride a bus to work. Many times I don't have anything to do, and if some clever ad was playing on walls of the bus I'd watch it. If the revenue from the ads meant that bus service was improved I'd be in favor of the ads.

          If you have something better to do, or want to ignore the ads, you can certainly do that. My point was that I prefer ads in this environment-- where I can choose to ignore them. It's like ads in a magazine. I can skip to the next page, or I can read it if it catches my attention.

      • Those people will probably view the ad, especially if it's interesting (think of the possibilities of a long-running story type campaign).

        Oh, come on. You and I know very well that advertisers aren't going to do anything nearly so cool with this as those `possibilities' of which you speak. Do a long-running storyline? And risk alienating that large chunk of the population with the memory of your typical goldfish? I think not. It's going to be lowest common denominator, as per always.

        And yes, I am a whiny bitch. Thank you for noticing.
    • Is it just me or is this a stupid idea? Almost no one who rides the subway is actively looking out the windows at the subway walls ... It's not like TV where there's something interesting to watch and then a commerical pop up. There's nothing interesting on the subway walls so who's going to be looking there?
      Dummy ... the idea is that, after all this publicity, people will be looking out the subway window to see the animated ads!
    • We have these in Philly already, and they're really eye-catching. You might not try to look out the window, but when suddenly there's a rather bright full-motion advertisement in it, you look.

      As for the incentive, of course there's the initial novelty, but it's also more interesting than reading the 'Injured? Call 1-800-BIG-MONEY!' ad that's by the subway car's interior roof, or the budweiser ad that's on the subway car's interior wall.

      Personally, I like the ads, and if I don't want to see them, that's why God invented the concept of not looking.

    • I find subway riding in NYC fun, but the other passengers are enough entertainment for my small-minded midwest mind.
    • What incentive is there? Not to stare at other people. People on subwas tend to stare off into nowhere at times. Now we have someplace to look if we aren't reading or something else.

      Ads in books, now THAT'd be annoying.

    • I always gaze out the window on the subway. It's better than re-reading the ads on the inside of the subway car a dozen times, or getting in a fight with some guy because you were facing his general direction and he thinks you were staring at him...

      In particular, when I take the PATH uptown I make a point of turning towards the ad so I can see the zoetropic activity. Is it just an ad? Yes. Is it of worse quality than the average 15-second TV commercial? Yes.

      Is it a novel, attention-getting gimmick? Sure is
  • that way the people standing waiting on the train can see it as it pulls in, and as it pulls out (if the train is too croweded for the to get on).

    okay, okay, not as cool.
  • by Xzisted ( 559004 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:29PM (#4085283) Homepage
    some hood is gonna figure out how to tag these things with porn images and give full length porn movies to subway riders.

    "Yeah Joe....we just arrested another bum for pleasuring himself on the subway. We really need to get the public works dept. down there to clean the spray paint off those ads."
    • I doubt it; it's way too much work required for too little payoff.

      While they do manage to tag some of the most 'daring' locations, I don't imagine they'd have the patience to tag the hundreds of signs along the tunnel.

      --

      • While they do manage to tag some of the most 'daring' locations, I don't imagine they'd have the patience to tag the hundreds of signs along the tunnel.

        A series of frames would be tough. Better to tag one frame with a subliminal message, then watch the hijinks ensue.

        Hmmm. That would make for an interesting experiment. Replace one frame of an ad with the word "thirsty", and see how many people head for a Coke machine as soon as they get off the train. Or see how many thugs get really nervous after getting the subliminal message "sharpened screwdriver".

        Some evil genius could have a field day with this! I'd try it on the Pittsburgh subway myself, but nobody would see it. :-)

        • Except these subliminal messages were determined countless years ago (see the first lawsuits regarding subliminal messages) because the brain simply discards the information. And, when you think about it, it makes sense. Take a billboard on the street. Walk by it. Now drive by it at 60mph. Now drive by it at 180mph. As you increase your speed, you approach having seen it for the equivilient of one frame of film. Do you think it has more impact, or less?
  • ads in subways are a sweetspot in the ad industry - think about it, you've got people captivated for minutes at a time with nothing to look at (books, mags, music aside)except the ads on the walls. The industry took this to a new level a few years ago by selling ad space by the half car (which makes sense - if you're sitting you can't see what's behind you) so you'll get an entire car-length of nike, microsoft or dewars. This is just an explosion of that.

    Keep in mind also, that this was demoed on the PATH line between New York and New Jersey which, until recently, was relatively ad-free. It changed a year or so ago with the installation of closed-circuit TV monitors that show powerpoint-style ads and subway information (next train in x mintues, etc.) The article says that the PATH lost 50 million last year despite raising fares by 50%. They're desperate for cash.

    Personally, i'll deal with the ads if I still get to get to jersey for a buck and change. It's a helluva lot cheaper than the commuter busses, that's for sure.

    Triv
    • What percent of the PATH operating budget is $50 million? Is it like 1% or something significant? (Not that $50M isn't significant by itself).

      Do you know what it would cost if fares alone covered the cost of operating the trains?

      I heard a press conference the other day by our state's transportation department head talking about building a commuter rail line similar to the PATH trains and he made a comment that I found interesting, that few if any transportation projects ever deliver a return on investment (ie, economic value relative to their cost).

      Would the PATH trains even be economically viable if fares paid for the operating costs? I mean, nobody wants to pay $50 each way to work.

    • PATH has relied on advertising for as long as I can remember. Stationary ads have been in stations and in cars -- it's only the PATHVISION closed-circuit TV system (actually it's running on a Windows system -- I've seen error dialog boxes pop up on the screens on several occasions) that's relatively new (~3 years?)

      The main reason PATH lost so much money last year was due to the loss of their station at World Trade Center -- not only did they not get the ad revenue from pasting Bloomberg TV ads on every flat surface, but also because the thousands of people who were accustomed to taking the PATH train from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan had to find an alternate route.

      Some continued taking the PATH across the river, getting off in the Village or Midtown and taking MTA subways downtown. Others started taking ferries across the river. Many chose to stay on NJ Transit's commuter trains all the way to Penn Station NYC, rather than switching to the PATH at Newark
      • The key word in my original post was 'relatively.' Yes, PATH has lots of advertizing, but compared to a similar train on the NYC subway their ads are less prominant and, IMO, nowhere near as slick. That was all I meant. :)

        Triv
  • Start selling helmets with blast shields? Heh I wonder what Valenti would say to that? "People who impair their vision to avoid ads are stealing."
  • On the Path Train... (Score:2, Informative)

    by FosterSJC ( 466265 )
    I have seen this ad on the path train from Jersey city to, oh I don't know, 33rd st? Anyway, I was just sitting there and all of a sudden I look up, and see this full motion Target advertisement through the window above the guy across from me's head. It was pretty surreal the first time. Now me and my friends know exactly when to look up. It is worth a gander. Seems hard to install, in an in-use subway. And most people don't look out the windows in the tunnels. But the existence of the ad has spread by word of mouth. Seems like good money for the MTA, and the ads are relatively unobtrusive compared to the ones I get 5 minutes into surfing the web. Anyway...
  • by Matey-O ( 518004 ) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:33PM (#4085307) Homepage Journal
    I wanted to show you how it worked by creating an image that would animate as you used the down arrow to scroll down this discussion page but the crapfilter ate it.
  • Welcome to my place...Now sit down and watch this mindless f$%ing ad for the next 3 weeks on your morning commute....

  • I saw this! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SkyLeach ( 188871 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:36PM (#4085331) Homepage
    I saw this in NY when I went to H2K2. I didn't know it was newsworthy though :).

    I told my wife about it 'cause I think it spooked everybody on the train. Something about the way the adds "move" gives you really bad vertigo. You expect everything outside the Path to be dark and moving by at a good pace, instead you look out the window and see gay men and women dancing around red and white bullseyes wearing tight white bellbottoms and goofy smiles. It's like riding a train into the twilight zone.

    But, I suppose it will sell a lot of addspace.
  • will do with this, I personally would love to see some animated train graffiti...
  • by grub ( 11606 )


    I predict the first

    " MAKE "
    (blink)
    " MONEY "
    (blink)
    " FAST "

    ad will appear by the end of the year.

  • In the trains (trams, really) that connect Denver International Airport terminal to the concourses, there's kinetic art on the walls as well as "flipbook" style animated sculpture.
    I suppose it's only a matter of time until United books ad space there, but it hasn't happened yet.
  • This could finally provide an answer to the "Where do you want to go today?" commercials.

    Station 2
  • See it (Score:5, Informative)

    by superkri ( 590003 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:46PM (#4085413)
    They have some videos from news coverage and simulations [sub-media.com] at their website [sub-media.com]
  • I remember seeing this is Tokyo earlier this summer. Pretty odd at first. There they were advertising beer I think :)
  • by Ravagin ( 100668 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @03:50PM (#4085459)
    The ad agency, created by a PhD in Astrophysics

    I guess a degree is pretty powerful, if it can start its own company....

  • Gator (Score:4, Funny)

    by sdjunky ( 586961 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @04:09PM (#4085578)
    And in other news Gator today unveiled their newest advertisement product

    "We don't want to go into details about how it will work but I will say that customers who order our free Ray Ban sunglasses will be in the thousands and the impressions will be many"

    While many are buzzing about being able to get Free Rayban glasses the NY Transit authority is quite upset.

    "This is going to eat into our subway ad revenues. It's theft and we plan on pressing legal action"

  • In Japan, the Yamanote line has flat panel
    displays on the trains, which show news, weather, and of course lots of ads.

    I don't see the point of putting the displays on the tunnel walls, except for a "gee whiz" factor which quickly evaporates.

  • ads are everywhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlv ( 5619 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @04:10PM (#4085583)
    Not just on transparencies, but on Kodak transparencies . Is that a product placement right on the front of slashdot?
    • Thank you for noticing the Kodak product placement. Those of us with shares of Kodak (NASDAQ: EK) appreciate your endorsement. Sure, we're still losing money, but we expect Kodak to get to step 3 -- profit -- real soon.
  • Done long ago (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sys49152 ( 100346 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @04:26PM (#4085683)
    I wish I noticed this story earlier.

    For all of you New Yorkers who rode the D train from Brooklyn into Manhattan in the late 70's and early 80's, this is old hat. I don't know when they pulled the plug on this, but between Dekalb Ave. and the Manhattan Bridge some artist had done exactly this along the abonded Myrtle Ave. stop. It depicted a 1950's style rocket ship taking off and landing.

    I must have watched this a 1,000 times on way in to high school. Of course, this was art and not an ad.
  • I believe that elongated ads were first dreamed up by Ray Bradbury in Farenheit 451. You were only able to see them for what they were while traveling on the extremely fast mass transit. At least it sticks out in my mind that way- its been a long time since I read it.

    • Actually, in Fahrenheit 451 the ads extend much further out because all the cars and other forms of transit move much much faster. The multi-cell animation wasn't really a piece in it.

      Great book though, personally my favorite from Bradbury. Pedestrian hunting was my favorite part...
  • ... in the form of a large animated billboard, positioned right when you get off a bridge, and have a nice big ugly merge. It's probably not that big a deal when you're stuck in rushhour traffic and not moving, but in normal traffic it just *sucks* to have that extra little bit of distraction out of the corner of your eye. I can't wait until a family of nuns gets smeared all over the road by some guy in an SUV that is distracted by the local 7-11 big gulp prices, maybe then they'll turn that shit off.
  • Not a new idea.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Manuka ( 4415 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @04:58PM (#4085904)
    Back in the 1980s, an artist created an installation in the New York Subway called Masstransiscope [bboptics.com] which essentially turned the subway into an unrolled and oversized zoetrope.
  • So you're on the train, watching the Discovery channel's "Shark Week" animated subway ad and suddenly you have the urge to visit the concession stand and buy a soft drink and some popcorn because some dingleberry replaced a couple pictures on the wall.
  • This is accomplished through a series of backlit pictures which Spodek compares to "the frames in a film reel."

    Ok, so it appears that they've basically hung a series of still images along the subway route. As you go zipping by, they blur together to form a continuous animated image. Same concept as a flipbook: draw a picture on a series of pages and flip them quickly so the images appear to be in motion. (yes, same way a film strip works, etc.)

    Fine. But this should only work in one direction. Passengers riding from point A to point B will see the animation correctly. But a passenger traveling from B to A is going to get the animation in reverse as they will be passing the same pictures in reverse order.

    I don't particularly want to see an animated feminine hygiene ad... but I really don't want to see an animated feminine hygiene ad in reverse.

    • i have never been in the subways in new york, but the subways here in stockholm are one way. there is only 1 track in the tunnel. the track going the other direction is in a tunnel right next to it, but not the same tunnel, so they would only have ads going thier direction, and we would only have them going ours. this is beside the point anyway, since i have not seen the ads here, however, if the new york subway sistem is the same way i would imagine that you would never see a backwards ad.
  • As it was already done in other places, in Argentina it was done last year. Here is a newspaper article [clarin.com] about this (translation by Google [google.com].
  • by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @06:03PM (#4086256) Journal
    Years ago, Ray Bradbury came to town and talked about what he did besides write science fiction. Among his many enterprises, he consulted with Disney on their animation museum in Florida. They had a standard museum layout with kiosks showing various Disney cartoons but unfortunately, the room felt flat and uninteresting. So they called Bradbury in as part of a team to figure out how to jazz up the exhibit.

    Bradbury, et al., suggested using a material that was common years ago but may not be so common now - it was a type of reflector that showed a picture when viewed one way and another picture when viewed from a slightly different angle. You could flip back and forth by rotating the reflector. Their idea was that if you're going to have an animation museum, the museum itself should be animated. But since they were specifically aiming at kids, they set up the entry just for the kids.

    What happened depended on how tall you were. If you were an adult, you saw these static cartoon adult characters, i.e., Goofey, Donald, etc. following you along as you walked down the hall to the exhibit. But if you were a kid, or you lowered your eyes to kid-height, what you saw were an animated Huey, Dewey and Louie running in and out of the cartoon adult's legs.

    • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Friday August 16, 2002 @06:52PM (#4086516) Homepage
      ...lenticular lens plastic [structuralgraphics.com] overlays - and yes, the stuff is still available (Home Depot has some "NASCAR branded" credit cards that animate when you tilt them). What is neat is that not only can you use the material for animation, but you can also achieve various "3D"-like effects.

      On a similar note, I recently bought a complete set of Popular Mechanics Do-it-Yourself encyclopedias (published in 1968), and one project that was detailed was a picture done in a similar manner, except instead of lenticular lens plastic being used, three pictures were used. Two of the pictures were cut into strips that were glued back-to-back and in order. Then a third picture was placed in the frame, and via grooves sawed in the top and bottom of the frame edge, the strips were placed perpendicular to the main picture. This basically allowed three different "views" in one picture frame as you looked at it from the left, the right, and "head-on". The project was described as using portraits: A left portrait, a right portrait, and a frontal face portrait.

  • I am about as anti-ad as you can get in the mainstream. I have picked up adbusters a few times, I complain ceaselessly about branding of stadiums, I HATE virtual ads in broadcasts, and I use mozilla to block pop ups.
    I also hated elevator ads, until I worked in a highrise building. When you are bored out of your mind and you have nothing to do, ads can pass the time. I commute every day on the subway in Toronto and having ads on the tunnel walls would pass the time. Advertising is definately not a panacea, but in this case everybody wins. I don't see what there is to complain about.
    Now as far as Microsoft funding UofWestern...;)
  • This is the type of "invention" which should be able to be patented.

    Although all of us know how it works in concept, it isn't an obvious thing to come up with. Someone had to come up with the idea and do testing. I suspect they have to syncronize a flash behind each frame with the train so you don't just end up with a blur, etc. etc. etc.

    *This* is what the patent system was invented for, not for use by people to protect their "I think I'll write a program to do X which is almost like everything else you've ever seen before".

    • Not at all, the concept is known as a zoetrope, and was in use as far back as the 1830s...

      Additionally, Keith Haring did such in the NYC subway in Manhatten, on the N line at 7th Ave and 50th St, wayyyy back 1980... I heard that one was done in Soho as well, but haven't seen it...
  • I was in Tokyo earlier this year (late april/early may) and in one of the subways I saw something that sounds like a similar concept: a long stretch of LEDs programmed to keep the advert they were displaying (in four colors no less) in sync with the train window... So as we speed by the thing the ad (for Fujifilm iirc) was constant position outside the window... Pretty neat, really. (I don't remember where I was at the time, I want to say we were on our way to shinjuku).
  • I don't know, I am never bored in a bus or a subway car. It's called a book and it works just fine.

    BTW, the idea isn't that new, I remember reading about an art installation I think in Berlin a couple of years back who did exactly the same thing.

    But I guess leave it to marketing to turn something interresting and good into something just bland.
  • "Every major city in the world has a subway system."

    Guess this guy doesn't live in the U.S. Raise your hand if you're from a major U.S. city that doesn't have a subway system. It's called urban sprawl, folks -- when you build horizontally instead of vertically, subways become prohibitively expensive (in the short run, which is all that matters to those who have the power to build them).

  • Look at this 3M product - the Laptop privacy filter [3m.com].

    It's a type of transparent screen filters with properties like microscopic vertical blinds. When affixed to the front of any backlit image, the filter restricts the viewing angle to a few degrees. From any other angle than almost perpendicular, the screen appears completely dark. The moving subway ads have the same type of screen filters attached, which means that the frame only becomes visible when it is nearly perpendicular to the train window, and it rapidly flickers out of sight as you move past it.

    The persistance of vision means the eye is tricked into seeing these brief glimpses of each frame as a continous motion picture sequence, although the blank inter-frame interval is presumably much longer than that of normal television, and the framerate is presumably lower.

    Technology aside, ads do get ever more obnoxious and intrusive, on the net and off the net. Other posts in this thread have briefly touched on future ad-blanking augmented reality applications, and I believe there will be a market for such things as we move ever closer to the nightmare situation of animated, personalized, intrusive ads everywhere, as depicted beautifully in Minority Report.

    One day every inner-city billboard will be plastered with animated ads, as the cost of printing flexible, brught polymer displays will plummet in the next decade.

  • Milano's subway has had them for at least 6 months.
    They look like movies from the beginning of the century, just outside the subways' windows.
    Cute, and in the long run boring.
    On the plus side, there's no audio to accompany them (which instead happens in some stations). It easier to look somewhere else than not to listen.

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