JCDecaux Australia

Commuters in Sydney can now bop to high-energy techno music while they wait for their bus, thanks to an unusual advertising campaign.

An Australian insurance company has popped car speakers onto a bus shelter in Sydney, allowing commuters to pick songs to jam to while they wait for their ride. All you have to do to slide a tune into your earhole is pull out your smartphone and scan a QR code on the advertisement for NRMA Insurance. Then, hit "Like" on NRMA's Facebook page. Then, apparently, there's an app you have to download. After that program installs, you can finally... oh, wait, the bus is here. Nevermind!

Maybe you should've just used one of these:

This unusual ad campaign was conceived by marketing conglomerization Whybin\TBWA\Tequila, author of perhaps the most frustrating website known to man, and executed by JCDecaux, the ad firm behind the U.K.'s recent infestation of buttery baked-potato smellvertisments. The "first interactive outdoor [ad] of its kind in Australia" is meant to "remind people how much they love their car stereos – and to encourage them to consider the adequacy of their existing insurance cover," according to JCDecaux's YouTube channel. (Below, watch a video of this thing in action.)

It's admirable that advertisers keep striving to transform the urban landscape into a dizzying wonderland for the senses. But do people really want to listen to bouncy, high-energy instrumentals before they've even had their morning coffee? It might make more sense for club kids heading home after a DJ show and a platter of Red Bulls and vodkas. Also, do folks really want to publicly "Like" an auto insurer?

Readers at Campaign Brief have identified more issues, such as, "Just wondering, do people who ride the bus in Sydney buy car insurance?" and "Don't these kind of things ever get fully trashed by drunk bogans?" Take a peek at the ad, and decide for yourself if you would take a brick to it under the cover of darkness:

iPod graphic courtesy of Aconcagua.

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

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