Xbox Targets ‘Air Traffic’ at JFK

LOS ANGELES An airline terminal would at first blush seem an unlikely place to surround travelers with colorful collisions. Even so, the T.A.G. unit of Interpublic Group’s McCann Worldgroup found what it considers the ideal location for a multimedia installation for Microsoft’s Xbox 360: the American Airlines Terminal 9 of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

“There’s a lot of traffic in that particular terminal, and for this particular campaign we wanted to make sure that we talk to everyone, from families to business travelers to grandparents,” said Scott Duchon, group creative director at the San Francisco shop. “We had to find a place to do creative media, and frankly not every airport wants that.”

The immersive exhibit uses 40 70-inch digital screens, with the imagery interconnecting all the monitors into a giant display. In one series, for example, an image to the far left of a gymnast flips toward the center of a living room space until she clashes with a Hun charging in from the right, both figures exploding in the middle of the display. Seconds later a Sumo wrestler collides with a bear, a skater slams into a wildcat, a broccoli stalk takes on a hotdog with onions. “The Flower Duet” from Les Delibes accompanies the 15-minute visual tour.

“The idea is give the Xbox 360 a little bit of personality for people who don’t know what it is,” said John Patroulis, creative director. “We want them to like us. In fact, the difficulty of defining it is appealing. It is an immersive experience, being surrounded by music and visuals. It’s not a hard sell.

The work only references specific games such as Halo 3 or Bioshock, Patroulis said, because the heavy sell for the holidays is in two on-air 30-second spots. The show’s mellifluous tone is intended not to annoy airport employees exposed to the 24-hour loop. “We don’t want JFK workers to get suicidal,” Duchon joked. “It is meant to suggest a living room with joy, surprise, pleasure.”

The exhibition, made in conjunction with Brand New School, Los Angeles, runs through mid-January.