Airports have facial-recognition systems built into digital advertising screens. Supermarkets have directional audio ads beamed to individual shoppers. And now commuter trains have windows that transmit ads directly into your head.

It’s a whole new kind of marketing skullduggery.

From MediaBistro’s PRNewser:


[N]ext time you plan to snooze while leaning up against a subway window, you may be in for a surprise: rather than the familiar buzzing sound, you might hear a message being transmitted directly into your skull via the vibrations. Should this occur, we assure you you aren’t hearing ghosts or being secretly recruited to be the next 007; you are simply experiencing a new form of advertising brought to you by BBDO.

The ads, which are completely inaudible until your head touches the glass, work by using a process called bone conduction.


That would be sound waves vibrating through your skull. Helpful YouTube video:



The bone conduction technology got a test run earlier this year in Germany. If the passengers reacted at all like the vast majority of YouTube reviewers, this idea should have already been derailed.

But don’t count on it.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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