Ads on your head and your (tennis) balls: Sony and Sky’s advertising innovations grabs media attention

By on Friday, July 5, 2013

Down on the courts at Wimbledon you’re likely to find many things; balls, rackets, strawberries, exasperated grunts, Andy’ Murray’s biceps. The one thing you won’t find is adverts, owing to Wimbledon’s strict advertising rules. That is until Sony hit on a nice idea – make the ads almost too small to see.

Sony ad Wimbledon

‘But then what’s the point?’ you may cry. The point is showing off Sony’s ultra high definition 4k technology. Sony’s ads are so small they can only be seen on 4k TVs, or as this ITN report puts it “if you don’t have it [4k], you can’t see the ads”. Wimbledon has relaxed its usual strict advertising rules as the tournament is being filmed in 4k definition for the first time. How’s that for key message pull-through?

Sony ad Wimbledon

Meanwhile over in Germany, Sky Deutschland has been employing some of that legendary German efficiency. You know at the end of a long day when you’re tied and fried and just want to get home, you may rest a weary head against the train window. Well that’s prime time to fill your head with ads, quite literally, thinks Sky’s German arm.

Using a high frequency transmitter (the same you’ll find in hearing aids and headphones) attached to train windows, Sky has developed what it calls ‘a talking window’. Inaudible messages are sent through the window’s glass by the transmitter and turned into sounds when coming into contact with inner-ear bones. This takes place when the person’s head come in direct contact with the window’s surface, and is called ‘bone conduction’.

As the ads can only be heard when an unsuspecting participant leans against the window, everyone else in the carriage is oblivious to the message. That’s pretty darn clever, even if the prospect of hearing a slightly creepy voice ask “are you bored?” as you doze off is a little creepy.

You can check out the video, curtsey of German ad agency BBDO, below.

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