Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Walking Advertisements

The other day at the corner of St George and Bloor I saw something quite new, well at least to my eyes, this might have been going on for a while already but I only recently discovered it. It was something simple really, something we always see but something that I started questioning for the first time in a different way. It was a mannequin. However, unlike most that I see in store fronts sporting the latest fashions, this one was just there, at the corner, all by its lonesome self. Interestingly though, I think it was actually there on purpose. It was positioned to look like it was running and had one foot bolted into the ground. It was dressed all in black (black tshirt and black shorts, yet it had one logo on the front of its shirt). I wish I had taken a picture because my memory fails me as to what the tshirt said, but nonetheless it looked like an advertisement.

This got me thinking about how advertising companies have really changed, especially in larger cities like Toronto, and how such an ad could change what we talked about in class regarding street life and street dynamics. On a regular basis we're subjected to ads be it on posters, pasted on buildings, on billboards, in newspapers or even on other people, but now it seems to have come to life in a sense. It's not only on a flat screen but in the middle of the road forcing us to interact with it. People would slow down, look at it, trying to figure out what it was and I think in that it succeeded as a good advertising tool. It is still novel and so people are reacting to it and taking notice of it, but it makes me question what would be the next step up after the novelty wears off of this? What new 'characters' will be added to the street next and how will our forced interactions with them change our perceptions of the street?

I don't think it is entirely new what companies are doing now in order to sell their products. I remember a couple of years back reading about how Sony was using new tactics to sell its new phone, the first of the Ericsson series. Basically it would have a confederate walk the streets and ask people to take pictures of him/her with their new phone. And as he/she would hand their phone over to the willing citizens, they would get them to interact with the phone and hopefully spark their interest into buying it or at least inquiring about it.

This mannequin has worked in the same sense. Here I am, still talking about it, and I saw it weeks ago!


Blogger Jessica Parker said...

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4/15/2008 10:53 PM  

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