Barbarian Group Hijacks NYC’s Speed Signs With Skeletons

New York City showed off its new skeletal speed-warning signs last week, part of the Department of Transportation's ongoing campaign to show that a pedestrian's odds of death are greatly reduced if the car that hits them is traveling below 30 miles per hour—the limit across much of the five boroughs. As it turns out, The Barbarian Group had a hand in concepting and executing the ads. (Benjamin Palmer, CEO of the Cheil-owned digital agency, is friendly with DOT brass Janette Sadik-Khan). Drivers who obey the law see the regular sign; those who speed see the creepy skeleton. Barbarian says the technology was pretty straightforward, built on existing speed-radar and road-sign hardware. They wanted to do something a bit more involved—with the live version of the figure walking instead of stationary—but had only 2KB of RAM to play with. (The Commodore 64 had 32 times that much back in 1982!) Despite being crude and blunt, it’s a clever idea. Now, will it actually work?