John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The advertisement uses smoke detectors to push a range of tobacco-cessation aids.
Billboards are some of the more unlikely enhancers of the urban sensory experience: wafting out the buttery smell of baked potatoes, creating bubbles of fresh, pollution-free air, pointing out the identities of commercial airliners soaring overhead.
Now Stockholm has a billboard that takes aim at a habit that arguably degrades the public experience, with an interactive model who reacts with visible disgust to smoking. The advertisement, located on the city’s busy Odengatan plaza, uses smoke detectors to suss out the presence of lit cigarettes. A man on its computer screen then starts wincing and coughing, before the ad segues into a selection of smoking-cessation products.
CNN reports passersby have reacted to the billboard in a “mostly really positive” way, according to the pharmacy chain that commissioned the billboard from creative agency Akestam Holst. Up next: A billboard that detects the sound of muddy spit hitting the sidewalk to publicly shame dip users?