Are you bored?
“Cool, but what does it mean?” (Overheard on an undisclosed downtown subway platform) In order to launch Webster Hall’s newest Saturday night party, GOTHAM’s public rollout relied upon a series of mysterious posters that posed a question, “Are You Bored?” or suggested “Escape the Internet” and “Join the Human Race.” The campaign was realized over a series of three movements, the first two of which simply pointed to a brand-specific microsite, ThisIsGotham.NYC, with no mention of Webster Hall whatsoever. For anyone who asked themselves the question posed above, essentially a self-selecting audience, would discover what they were seeking by visiting the site.
It is of particular importance to note that the GOTHAM campaign ran during the tail end of Summer 2016. Why? There were a number of (very) visible campaigns running under the sweaty city streets at the same time time, including those for ”Mr. Robot,” “Sleep No More,” “Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For” and “Batman vs. Superman,” all of which were designed to evoke a similarly foreboding, gritty feel.
The cleverly strategic launch timing lead many to assume that the ads were an extension of another, more widespread (and more costly) campaign tie-in. Mr. Robot, in particular, had been playing up the promotion of its second season with a variety of deep-level digital microsites and social media easter eggs. With only a URL to give any hint of what was behind the messaging, the lack of messaging was responsible for many catfished website visitors.
Grit and Grime
The party aesthetic of GOTHAM (read about it here) is highly stylized with a dark, mysterious, gritty noir. The inevitable addition of graffiti/scrawled tags did not detract from the impact of the message, instead it simply added to the “realness” of this “only in NYC” party. As layers of grime cover the images, the ads blend into the background, very literally becoming part of underground culture.
When the final series of posters were installed they came bearing the official party logo and location information. For daily commuters it came as a welcome resolution, satisfying their curiosity about this unusual subway ad campaign.
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