Tuesday, October 4, 2011

5 Sci-Fi Ad Techniques That Are About to Make Life Creepier Read more: 5 Sci-Fi Ad Techniques That Are About to Make Life Creepier

We are in the middle of a great cultural arms race between advertisers with tons of money and state of the art technology and the common man's ability to ignore the ads those advertisers create. You've seen hundreds of ads today -- how many did you actually remember?

Don't think for one second that ad executives are giving up. It's all about using futuristic technology to make their ads more and more invasive. That's how we've wound up with ...

#5. Ads That Whisper in Your Ear

So you're strolling down the street, just minding your own business, when you suddenly pass by a billboard. You pay it the exact same attention you pay to every cityscape ad, which is an amount somewhere between "jack" and "shit." That is, until you suddenly hear a creepy-ass female voice whispering right in your ear:

"Who's there? Who's there? ... It's not your imagination."

Startled, you turn around to realize that nobody is about to violate your personal space. In fact, there's no one close enough to be able to deliver a whisper. You see somebody walking down the sidewalk and shout, "Did you hear that?" to which they answer, "Hear what?"

Just as you decide that the last of your sanity has finally snapped and that you should probably talk to somebody about meds, your eyes are drawn to the billboard we mentioned earlier ... which reads:

98 percent of Americans don't yet realize advertisers have the balls to go there.

The Creepiness:
The good news is that the voice in your ear was no ghost, nor an auditory hallucination. It's just a device sitting seven stories up, utilizing a technique called sound from ultrasound, which basically enables it to shoot sound over distances to project it as a ghost voice right into your ear.

A company called Holosonics has developed a device called the Audio Spotlight as a tool that allows them to direct commercial audio to a specific spot without anyone else in the area being disturbed. And when we say "developed," we mean "applied a hazardous military-grade technology." The Audio Spotlight is basically a LRAD (long-range acoustic device), which is used in the field to, we quote, "send messages, warnings and harmful, pain-inducing tones over longer distances than normal loudspeakers." It's kind of a ... sound laser? We guess?

If that pain-inducing part didn't ring your alarm bells, it is worth noting that the LRAD is basically a crowd control weapon. In the hands of the notoriously responsible and well-adjusted marketing people.

So while we're kind of grateful they're only going for whispers and harmless sound projection at the moment, we're also kind of worried what happens when the company lands its first deal on promoting, say, painkillers or adult diapers.

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