Unvertising Finds Way To LED Billboards


A visual artist is running a temporary public art installation on digital billboards on US interstate freeways – showing nature scenes instead of all those ads for mortgage brokers and career colleges – as moments of relief for daily commuters.

The effort is likened by Boston artist Brian Kane to the healing tool in Photoshop, replacing or patching over landscape blocked out by the advertising boards.

During the day hours, he writes, a series of images from the specific location are shown on the display. We replace the missing background and create a magic dimensional window. A dynamic motion parallax effect occurs as the vehicle passes the location.

During the evening hours, high-resolution images of the moon are shown. Synced to the daily phase, people can view the moon despite the effects of urban light pollution. An image of the Milky Way is shown on new moon night.

The dynamic image sequences provide an additional level of intrigue for frequent drivers and commuters. As the images change hourly and daily, viewers have something to look forward to: a curious and abstract narrative over time.

Thematically, the piece is ambiguously green. It appears to be replacing the artificial with the natural, but it’s really just using technology to simulate a nature replacement. It’s also a form of “unvertising” – a campaign without a message. By removing the marketing message from the advertising space, we create an unexpected moment of introspection. People are allowed to interpret an image based on their own experience, and not necessarily with the singular focus of the advertiser’s intent.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes


12+ year-old blog and podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by industry consultant, analyst & bullshit filter Dave Haynes.
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1 Comment

  • Paula B. says:

    Dave, I love the use of digital signage content in this article. It is truly a pleasure when the customer can be creative and also enact positive change. In a world already cluttered with various messaging, this one sends a truly meaningful one! Thanks for this post.

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