In their bid to grab attention in an increasingly cluttered product landscape, advertising firms are continuing to push into territory that was once the domain of industrial design student projects. The Coca-Cola half can and the Diet Coke Slender Vender are things we might have seen come out of a second-year ID class with a corporate sponsor: They contain client-pleasing branding, they skirt the line of what's practical and they're just experimental enough to make the sponsor feel like they got their money's worth.
The latest advertising-fueled "innovation"—this one a bit more irritating than a skinny vending machine that dispenses unhealthy product—comes from BBDO Germany. They've experimentally attached bone-conduction audio transmitters to train windows, so that passengers who nod off and let their heads touch the glass suddenly "hear" an advertising message:
Unsurprisingly, advertising industry blogs are fawning over the "The Talking Window" that urges listeners to download mobile content from broadcaster Sky Deutschland. Meanwhile, anyone who's ridden a New York City subway will realize no thinking person wants to touch their head to any surface on a train to hear advertising. It might be more effective to write it in the grease stain on the glass left by the previous person's head.