October 10, 2011

Contagious creativity

Contagion billboard

This is the coolest advertising I’ve seen since the stunt for Lynx (we know it in the United States as Axe) with virtual angels falling from the sky into the London Victoria railway station. What Warner Bros. Pictures Canada did to promote its new movie “Contagion” could also be considered interactive, on a microscopic level. The movie’s premise is that there is a fast-spreading outbreak of a deadly airborne virus. Panic sets in as the fear of exposure consumes people. So what better way to promote a movie about spreading germs than to create giant petri dish billboards? The billboards were treated with live fungus and bacteria and installed in an abandoned storefront window with nothing but an “IN THEATRES SEPTEMBER 9” advisory underneath. Over the next few weeks, the contents began to grow, revealing some pretty gross-looking mold that spelled out the title of the film. This video shows the process.

Suspense that created engagement, a strong tieback to the premise of the movie and creativity make this a great execution. Let’s just hope these out-of-the-box bacteria billboards stay inside their boxes.

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