Talking train windows leave commuters awake

By Matt Gillis

It is no surprise that we live in a world dominated by advertisements. We expect to see commercials while watching Hulu, hear radio advertisements between Pandora songs, and see banner advertisements along our Facebook home page. But with advancements in technology, researchers are finding ways to advertise when consumers least expect it. If you thought advertising could not get any more invasive, think again.

Due to new technological advancements, British mobile streaming service Sky Go and advertising agency BBDO Dusseldorf have developed an advertisement technique that communicates messages to consumers that “come from inside the user’s head” according to an article from BBC News. The technique borrows bone conduction technology to transmit sound waves to consumers by passing vibrations through the skull.


While this technology is new to advertisers, the same techniques have previously been used for hearing aids, military use, and swimming and running headphones.

More specifically, the company plans to use train and bus windows and their natural vibrations as a method to implement the innovative advertising technique. The device releases high-frequency oscillations and works when the vibrations transmitted through the consumer’s skull to his or her brain convert them into sound.

This means that commuters resting their head on windows will hear voices inside their head that no one else can discern. This also means that consumers are no longer safe from advertising even when they are sleeping, or trying to sleep. Cool, right?

While this advancement may seem unethical, I believe it proves far less intrusive than other advertising techniques including neuromarketing, which scans consumer’s minds in order to research subconscious thoughts, and personal selling “mind control scripts,” which use specific cues and language to trigger buying actions.

Despite the invasive and controversial nature of this technique, Sky Go and BBDO Dusseldorf’s advancement has the potential to span beyond the world of advertising by providing weather updates, emergency alerts, and breaking news to on-the-go commuters. The technology could also be used to broadcast sports channels and provide bus and train users with music options for an interactive ride to and from school or work.

And while I admit that if I encountered a talking train window, I would think I was losing my mind, I believe this technology it is a smart option for companies in order to reach consumers amidst the advertising clutter. This technology allows organizations to speak to their consumers directly and literally, while leaving a lasting and shocking impression that commuters will not likely forget.

Reference list:

–       Clench, S. (2013, July 3). New device turns public transportation windows into ads by beaming sound into your head | Fox News. Fox News – Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos. Retrieved September 4, 2013, from

–       Kelion, L. (2013, July 3). BBC News – Talking train window adverts tested by Sky Deutschland. BBC – Homepage. Retrieved September 4, 2013, from

One thought on “Talking train windows leave commuters awake

  1. Haha! This is awesome. I sleep a lot on the train and knowing that I’ll be hearing voices in my head is disturbing in a hilarious way. I guess there’s some comfort in knowing that I won’t be the first crazy on the CTA. I wonder if there will be any huge side effects to this type of advertising. People went crazy over the “cell phone causes cancer” craze that I will be surprised if the same claims didn’t arise from this. Really interesting post.


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