Why Billboards Near Mount Rushmore Have Been Taking Jabs at the Iconic Sculpture

TruTV gets contextual with clever OOH ads

Truths—inconvenient, irreverent and otherwise—are the focus of truTV’s irrepressible out-of-home campaign promoting the second season of Adam Ruins Everything, a show that amusingly debunks popular myths and sets the record straight on all manner of cultural misconceptions.

Developed with Work in Progress and themed “Contextual Ruins,” the ads share truths in or near physical locations that could be “ruined,” in theory—for some folks, at least—by such knowledge leaking out.

Take, for example, Mount Rushmore’s complicated and controversial history. truTV caused a viral stir by chiseling away at the topic with billboards that popped up around the iconic national memorial in South Dakota:

“We wanted to create one-to-one marketing on a scalable level,” says Puja Vohra, truTV’s evp of marketing and digital. “We used a few criteria—topics that were the most relatable to consumers, locations that could be tied to and amplify them, and subjects we thought would cause the most disruption and conversation.”

Sure, life’s not soul-crushing enough already. Let’s add some truth to the mix!

Which brings us, naturally, to the campaign’s take on herpes:

Thankfully, most of us will never develop icky symptoms. Isn’t that reassuring?

“The topic is so universal, the statement is accurate, and the placement really generates a surprise and grounds it in reality—just like the show,” says Vohra.

If that herpes bus wrap left you smarting, never fear. truTV dumbs things down for its next outing:

“The biggest challenge we had was finding the right media in the right locations,” Vohra says. Here’s an example of one such highly targeted buy designed to make a splash:

Here’s a spirited take on pricey wines vs. cheap hooch:

And why skirt the topic of hula dancers?

Breaking with the OOH formula, the campaign’s roadblock on SheKnows should whet baba’s appetite:

“truTV fans are millennial comedy lovers who engage in a broad range of comedic styles, and one of their core attributes is that they love takeaways—nuggets from our shows that they can share with their friends in person or on social media,” Vohra says. “So, delivering these nuggets of relevant information in surprising and contextual places feels like a bull’s-eye for this audience. It really brings Adam Ruins Everything directly into their lives, even when they’re away from the TV screen.”

Moreover, “Contextual Ruins” and the series it touts seem especially in tune with the times, as cries of “fake news” echo across the landscape, with today’s consumers unsure exactly who and what to believe. “At a time when people are hungry for the truth and some comedic relief, Adam Ruins Everything delivers both,” Vohra says.

That dynamic has fueled considerable coverage of the campaign, boosting its reach well beyond the media buy. “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t hoping for it,” adds Vohra.

Ain’t it the truth!

For irrefutable proof, here is series host Adam Conover delivering the deets on Rushmore (and much more!) during a segment with late-night king of truthiness Stephen Colbert:

CREDITS
truTV Credits:
Puja Vohra, EVP, Marketing & Digital
Raymond Dooley, VP Marketing
Leah Rubner, Marketing Director
Ali Hayes, Sr. Marketing Manager
Jenn Camp, Marketing Manager
Jim Read, Creative Director
Hermes Arriola, Sr. Designer

WIP Credits:
Alex Guerri – Partner, Account + Strategy
Matt Talbot – Partner, Creative
Andrew Lincoln – Partner, Creative
Evan Russack – Partner, Account + Strategy
Stafford Bosak – Partner, Production
Harold Jones – Partner, Production
Pete Sheinbaum – Partner, Business + Legal
Jimmy Rosen, Art Director