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Marilyn Monroe's Dress Blows Around on These New York Subway Ads as Trains Arrive

Lifetime promos echo famous Swedish campaign

The audio-triggered ads are believed to be a first for the U.S.

Lifetime has brought a neat out-of-home advertising trick to the U.S. for the first time to promote its upcoming miniseries The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, starring Kelli Garner.

Garner began appearing Monday on digital ads in eight New York City subway stations. The ads are audio-activated, and whenever a train arrives in those stations, Garner's skirt blows around, as though windswept by the train (a reference, of course, to the famous images of Monroe with her skirt blowing around in The Seven Year Itch—also caused by a draft from a New York subway train).

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Lifetime says it's the first marketer in the U.S. to use this audio-sensory technology in the MTA subway. It is reminiscent, of course, of the well-known Swedish subway ads for hair-care brand Apolosophy.

The ads are up in the Grand Central, Union Square, West 4th Street, 86th Street, 14th Street/7th Avenue, Brooklyn Bridge, Fulton Center and 68th Street-Hunter College stations. Lifetime worked on the project with Horizon Media, Control Group and New Tradition.

We spoke to Tracy Lenhart, vp of consumer marketing at Lifetime, about the project.

Where did you get the idea for this? Were you inspired by the Apolosophy ads?
The core of the idea is a fundamental shift in our media strategy. Lifetime is increasingly looking at the utilization of new OOH technologies to bring our creative and campaigns more to life. We were looking for a new, never-done-before [in the U.S.] placement that will shout "premium and popular," and make people stop and take notice and extend their excitement about the campaign onto social media.

Can you explain how the technology works?
The screens are programmed to trigger creative when sound exceeds a pre-set decibel. The initial decibel will be set at 100 dB, a level that would likely only be triggered by a train, considering the environment. We will tune the content so that it works as intended in the field and ensures that the experience is a success.

It ties in quite nicely to the original image of Monroe's skirt being blown around by a New York subway train, doesn't it?
The idea was not necessarily to replicate or capture the original source material, but rather evoke the historic and indelible impression Marilyn Monroe has made on American pop culture.  It was just a matter of finding the right placement and technology.
 
How do expect people will react to the ads?
Shock, surprise and share! We believe this unique experience will get people talking and sharing photos and videos across their social platforms, and, ultimately, excite viewers for The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe.

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