The Woolly Mammoth Bus

On the Hunt
The Field Museum in Chicago is currently featuring an exhibit entitled, "Mammoths and Mastodons." To advertise for the exhibit, the museum has converted a double-decker tour bus into a giant wooly mammoth, complete with patches of hair on its sides. I first saw this bus about a month ago and I have spent a lot of time since then trying to track it down in order to shoot the video you see above. An informal poll of my friends and co-workers has proven to me that the bus has generated tons of buzz in the city.

Texture Matters

The best part about the Wooly Mammoth bus is how its hair shimmers in the wind as the bus cruises down the street -- that's why I wanted to include a video of the bus instead of just a picture. Because of the bus's unique texture, it's impossible not to notice it when it's in motion. Unique textures draw us in and convert ads that engage only our sense of sight into two-dimensional ads that also engage our sense of touch. My co-worker even witnessed a woman riding on top of the bus mindlessly stroking the hair on the side of the bus. Why was she doing that? Because people love to touch and feel unique textures.

Adding texture to a printed piece can be incredibly effective. I would be drawn to a print advertisement for a golf course that features a fine grade of sand paper over the top of an image of a sand trap. Imagine a print ad for a bar that features an attractive woman wearing a slinky, shiny dress in which the ad includes tin foil over the top of where her dress would be. Consider a billboard for a shampoo in which the featured model's hair extended above the billboard into a ponytail made of fake hair. While more expensive to produce, these added textures would certainly be noticed.

Add This to Your To-Do List

Find ways to add texture to your print advertisements. Your textured ads will cut through the clutter and allow people to engage with them more. I have previously written about how scratch n' sniff postcards could save the direct mail industry. Now, I'm encouraging you to add texture to your printed pieces as well. Can you think of a way to combine sight, texture, and smell? That would certainly be the perfect storm of texture in advertising.

There's never a lack of ideas.

PS I chased the bus down the street and captured one more video (below). Thanks to all my friends and co-workers who patiently listened to me obsess about the Wooly Mammoth bus for a month -- and to all of those who helped me stake it out.

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