Technology originally developed by the US military is being deployed by O2 for a new campaign that will launch later this month.
But, says the agency behind the campaign, this is part of a wider revolution in “out-of-home” advertising that could see content accurately served to the public based on their emotional response within the next 12 months.
From 19 March, in select shopping centres, outside certain stores and in bus shelters nationwide, and in what is claimed to be a world first, members of the public will walk into “sound showers”. These couple parametric arrays (mechanisms that give off low frequency sound) and electrostatic speakers to create pools of directional sound, which unsuspecting members of the public will wander into.
Meanwhile, when strolling past certain shops, people will again hear the new O2 tune picked for the campaign, as surface speaker technology will be used to turn shop windows into giant loudspeakers.
The installations are being created by Curb, the media company behind the living bacteria billboard for the film Contagion, crop circle ads for Shredded Wheat and a sand replica of Windsor Castle. The company has a “resource network” of academics and technical experts worldwide — many of whom approached them with ideas of how new technologies could be used to create publicity stunts.
Prask Sutton, Curb’s Head of Multisensory Innovation, acknowledges, however, that the technology used with this latest O2 campaign isn’t new. In fact, the parametric arrays were originally developed by the US Navy and Soviet Navy for underwater sonar in the mid-1960s.