Thursday, December 12, 2013

may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window?

In an episode of Fawlty Towers, Basil entertains a hard of hearing and somewhat curmudgeonly guest - Mrs Richards - who complains about some of the features of her room.

Mrs. Richards: And another thing. I booked a room with a view.

Basil: [Goes to the window] Yes, this is the view as I remember it, yes, yes, this is it.

Mrs. Richards: When I pay for a room with a view, I expect something more interesting than that.

Basil: That is Torquay madam.

Mrs. Richards: Well it's not good enough.

Basil: Well, may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the...?

Mrs. Richards: Don't be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.

Basil: You can see the sea. It's over there between the land and the sky.

Mrs. Richards: I'd need a telescope to see that.

Perhaps the good people at Google Creative Labs had this in mind as they developed this splendid installation (not sure what to describe it as) as part of Sydney Opera House's 40th birthday celebrations last month.

The project, entitled Binoculars, entailed a special set of those vintage panoramic view binoculars (the ones that look like a face), installed on the footsteps of the Opera house.

Viewers who participated were then able to do what Mrs Richards was unable to in Torquay and view 40 other iconic locations around the world - including the Colorado River, the Palace of Versailles, and Shackleton's hut in Antarctica - using imagery from, and to demonstrate, Google Street View.

Thanks to Ciarán Norris, who kindly pointed me to this in recognition of my current infatuation with outdoor media enhanced with digital technologies.

The beauty being the ability deliver indiscriminate shared experiences for broad audiences without the baggage of tight targeting, faux-relevance and hyper-personalisation that the adtech world has misguidedly embraced.

The audience for this intervention is anyone with eyes and a sense of curiosity.

The future of digital advertising is out-door :). Here's the Fawlty Towers clip too.

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