Marketing Bootcamp

How These Brilliant Digital Billboards Are Delivering a Hair-Raising Message

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Last February, a digital advertising campaign in Sweden that appeared to respond to the comings and goings of bustling subway cars captured the imagination of local passersby -- and subsequently went viral the world over.

Electronic billboards were placed underground to promote a new haircare range from the Swedish brand Apolosophy, featuring models whose hair wafted wildly in the wind whenever trains approached stations.

The digital signage, which had been equipped with ultra-sonic sensors to monitor the arrival of trains, lent an uncanny effect and also touted the artful tagline: “Makes your hair come alive.” Check it out.

Related: Market to Empowered Women: It's Ethical -- And It's Good for Business

Now, after having garnered substantial attention, the concept has been repurposed by Barncancer Fonden -- a Swedish nonprofit that raises money to fight childhood cancer -- for an even more hair-raising message.

The reimagined ads similarly feature a young girl named Linn whose hair starts whooshing as trains speed past -- until, suddenly, her hair flies off completely. Several commuters, as captured in this video by the foundation, gasp at the sight of the child’s bald head, as a message appears onscreen, “Every day a child is diagnosed with cancer,” alongside a mobile donation code.

In a rapidly evolving ad industry where “living pictures” are making a play to supplant traditional visual messaging, the Swedish campaigns illustrate the kind of marketing magic that occurs when technology and humanity intersect.

Related: Advertising's Next Frontier: Retroactive Product Placement

Edition: December 2016

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