The Right Click

Ads vibrate directly into heads of train riders


A new advertising idea could be coming to a commuter train near you, and if you use your commute time to nap, then you probably won’t like this very much.

Advertising agency BBDO has come up with a unique way to transmit audio ads to individuals on trains: by making the window send out a message and talk in their heads.

It sounds strange, but the technology being used to do it isn’t new. The window has a transmitter attached, which makes the window vibrate. When someone leans (or sleeps) against a window, the vibrations play the message so only the person in contact with the window can hear it through bone conduction. Everyone else in the train doesn’t hear a thing.

Bone conduction is the same science that makes certain hearing aids and headphones work, as well as being used in the military. The sound waves vibrate the tiny bones in your inner ear, bypassing the eardrum so you can still hear ambient sound, too.

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The ad campaign is currently running on trains in Munich and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, promoting a new mobile app for Sky Deutschland.

“Passengers got surprised and enjoyed this new form of advertising,” BBDO told Mashable. “Highly encouraging first reactions by commuters and our client.”

As a train commuter who often uses my ride into work as a chance for a little more shut-eye, I can tell you I wouldn’t be pleased with being woken up by an ad in my head. Share what you think of the idea in the comments below.

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