Giant Mutant iPads Are The Future of Advertising

When I got my YouTube questionairre reply from Edinburgh-based Elastic Creative I had a look at their favourite unusual uses for motion graphics, which I’ve already covered in a previous post. But one I neglected was Clear Channel, an outdoor advertising company, specialising in billboards and bus posters. You’d think every time they hear somebody hail ‘print is dead’ they’d quiver in their boots, but they’re more prepared for that eventuality than you’d think.

In 2006 Clear Channel announced they were to be producing digitised banners. The scales of advertisements in America is conducted on a mind-numbingly large scale, as seems habit with most things in the US. Bigger is better doesn’t just cover Big Macs. And I mean the burger. Not the outrageously-expensive-designer-crack-in-a-computer-models produced by Apple.

This just makes sense as a progression from the typical ‘turning’ billboard, like the one for National Geographic below. The invention of this kind of billboard and similar rolling bus poster units allowed them to split up advertising spaces between 3 or 4 clients and actually make use of the unnecessarily large space they had to play with.

Courtesy of

The next step from this is of course something digital. It would be all to easy to load up a slideshow to these freakish big brothers of the flatscreen TV. But as soon as the advert starts to move, even in a subtle manner, it draws far more attention to itself. Americans are glued to television screens, so why not put big massive ones on the side of highways? What could go wrong?

This isn’t a purely American phenomenon. Since 2006 this technology has progressed, spread and expanded like a supersized Big Mac. The Glasgow Subway network has undetaken a similar medium in it’s most recently rennovated stations, such as Hillhead and Partick.

Courtesy of SPT

This is the new series of digital advertising units by advertising company Primesight. Like giant freakish mutant iPads these high-resolution screens hang in the spaces where posters used to, incorporating motion in varying degrees. The fact of the matter is though, this is yet another medium to which moving image is expanding. Not only are we taking more screens with us in our daily routine, with iPhones and iPads, but we now have their monolithic older cousins replacing posters in bus shelters and elsewhere on public transport.

It’s interesting that ClearChannel are not the only company to be pursuing this medium for advertising. This isn’t a fad like Furbies and One Direction (I’m praying it’ll end, I really am). This is a “fad”, like mobile phones and tablet devices. This is something here to stay. Now that a company likee Primesight has adopted this new variation on what Clearchannel started it should be interesting to see how this sense of competition accelerates and catalyses digital advertising. Print might not be dead, but it’s a hell of a lot quieter than this.

Listening to: Fun by Pharrell Williams


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