Listening in on life’s little secrets

Listening in on life’s little secrets

It’s a billboard of people walking down a street

Wallboards are commonplace in the corridor between the Times Square and Port Authority subway stations, and at first glance this one looks just like any other.

Listening in

The scene: A busy street where more than a dozen pedestrians are hurrying on their way.

But this wallboard is different than all the rest in one subtle but very clever way. Above each of the 15 people in the picture there’s a small picture of a pair of headphones. Beneath each is an audio jack.

When you plug your iPodearbuds into the jack by that person’s head, you suddenly can hear the person’s thoughts.

Some of them are surprising.

“If my family knew I was looking at these magazines, oh my my,” intones an innocuous-looking man hovering near a corner newsstand.

Nearby, a woman wonders if she can steal a co-worker’s lunch from the communal refrigerator. An overweight man frets that someone will notice his girdle. A woman confesses that her new baby has ruined her life. And so on.

At the bottom of the poster is the tagline “Everyone has something to hide,” printed right above the logo for HBO’s drama “Big Love,” about a man trying to hide the fact that he’s a polygamist.

The campaign, which ran in New York and Los Angeles last year, was a big success, drawing loads of buzz at advertising sites the world over and media coverage from everyone from the New York Times to the trade papers.

Now it’s earned another honor: It’s up for an Obie, the awards from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America that recognize the best in outdoor advertising.

The OAAA released this year’s Obie award nominees yesterday, and BBDO, which did the “Big Love” billboard, led all agencies with nine nods, including another for a separate HBO campaign.

BBDO has received four consecutive best in show awards at the Obies, and is in the running for one again this year.

TBWA\Chiat\Day received the second-most nominations of any agency with four, and five agencies received two nods apiece.

The Obie awards will be handed out on May 4 on the final night of the TAB/OAAA Out of Home Media Conference & Marketing Expo in Phoenix.

Billboard Connection

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