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Still image of Snapple ad in Path Train.
The MTA are certainly not rocket scientists, but thankfully Josh Spodek is. In today’s Daily News there is a story about the MTA’s plan to finally consider installing animated ads in the vast network of NYC’s subway tunnels. Back in 2003, in our 2nd issue, Atlantis, ANIMAL featured the above rocket scientist/artiste, who pioneered that technology (which he coined Cinetics, part cinema-part kinetics). The fully animated subway ads were first used in Atlanta and Philadelphia and the Manhattan bound Path trains station back in 2002. Although the technology for these ads have been around for more then 4 years, the MTA is finally getting hip to them and the mini movie-like commercials are scheduled to get a test run this summer in the NYC transit system.
Come ROAR and learn how astrophysics meets underground marketing.


spodek2.jpg
Still image of Snapple ad in Path Train.
The MTA are certainly not rocket scientists, but thankfully Josh Spodek is. In today’s Daily News there is a story about the MTA’s plan to finally consider installing animated ads in the vast network of NYC’s subway tunnels. Back in 2003, in our 2nd issue, Atlantis, ANIMAL featured the above rocket scientist/artiste, who pioneered that technology (which he coined Cinetics, part cinema-part kinetics). The fully animated subway ads were first used in Atlanta and Philadelphia and the Manhattan bound Path trains station back in 2002. Although the technology for these ads have been around for more then 4 years, the MTA is finally getting hip to them and the mini movie-like commercials are scheduled to get a test run this summer in the NYC transit system.
Come ROAR and learn how astrophysics meets underground marketing.
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How does it work?
Under the right conditions, projecting a series of still images tricks the eye into seeing an animated image. The display works like a 19th century invention called a zoetrope. When you spin the zoetrope and look through the slits, the pictures look animated. Josh’s eureka idea was to straighten the zoetrope and put in the subway tunnel. It operates like a movie projector in reverse. When you watch a movie in the theatre, you sit still and the moving film’s images are projected on the screen. With Joshua’s medium, the film sits still and you move past it. Subway trains provide the motion. It’s all based on the notion of superluminal motion.
That’s right. If you saw the same image standing still it really wouldn’t look like much, but the moment you add some motion, bingo, you have animation. Josh provides a cool video of a pedestrian model he built in his studio using an image of floating Coca Cola bottle tops. Notice again how the movement of the person creates the animation.
One of the most remarkable things about the boxes that contain these images is their low maintenance and amazingly, complete lack of moving parts. From a tree hugger perspective that means it doesn’t take a lot of power to back light the ads and therefore another huge expenditure of electricity. Plus they don’t take up a lot of room. The boxes are less then 2 feet thick and only need a display length of about 200-300 meters for a 15 second commercial. When this technology first launched in 2002, there was a lot of media hoopla and all the networks covered it.
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Below are some clips of the media (and displays) in action with all the cliches to boot.
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ABC
Now if this means increased revenue for the city and a long term postphonement of fare hikes, then this system will be advantageous to straphangers and the people of NY. If however, this is just a cash cow for just the MTA to suckle, then, no matter how cool the advertising is, this ain’t goin to make anyones morning commute any happier.