Nearly perfect: OX for Bien Urbain

This is one of the most perfect ad disruptions I’ve ever seen. OX did this takeover at the Bien Urbain festival in Besan├žon, France. Here’s why I think it’s nearly perfect:

Pros –

  • It’s site-specific.
  • It’s possible to not notice it. The piece can fade into the background of the environment (not just because the billboard matches the sky in this photo, but because it doesn’t try to grab your attention).
  • For the people who are familiar with the billboards and do notice the change, the takeover is something for them to think about.
  • It’s photographed well for online distribution.

Con –

  • The billboards themselves aren’t at ground level.

Now, that last pro and the con might not make immediate sense. In the case of billboard takeovers, I think that many of the best ones make it clear to viewers that they too can do exactly what the artist has done; that it’s not only OX who can or should cover up public advertisements. So on the pro side, this takeover is beautifully photographed and people who see this photo are probably more likely to be inspired than it it were a quick snap from OX’s camera-phone. As for the billboards not being a ground level, this sort of take over would probably have required a ladder or a long pole. Those aren’t particularly difficult things to get, but ground level billboards are even easier to disrupt, so photos of those takeovers might inspire more people to take action themselves than a more difficult billboard takeover.

Some of these thoughts about what makes a good ad takeover are based on similar ideas by Jordan Seiler, so definitely check out his site as well if this is interesting.

UPDATE: Jordan as actually posted his own thoughts about this piece over at his own blog.

Photo by OX