Billboard Inspires Travel With Sound Bites From Around the World

In a world that the visual power dominated, Thalys trains have decided to promote their service with a different focus, the power of the sounds. It is common for travel advertising to rely on beautiful images and breathtaking views to create a wanderlust feeling to the audience. This is a great way to make them plan their next trip, but how about thinking more creatively?

Thalys, a high-speed train operator, along with the French advertising agency Rosapark, have decided to create ‘The Sounds of the City’, a campaign consisting of three billboards with the original sounds of Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels, promoting the uniqueness of each city.

Thalys Trains records Sounds of the City

That’s how they started exploring each city, recording every possible sound, combining it with popular melodies and tunes that bring up even more memories about each city. And just like that sounds of trains, passengers, pigeons, markets, carousel, cafe, bars, skaters have been creatively combined, creating a billboard for each city.

Each interactive billboard contains more than 1000 sounds from each city, from the latest sound to archived ones from the city’s past, with each sound having a plug hole, waiting for the passengers to plug their headphones. And just like that, passengers stopped by in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels in order to enjoy all these sounds, turning travel into a fun experience. It was as if they were already on board for their trip, even before booking the travel.

Thalys Trains records Sounds of the City

Thalys wanted to highlight how each city has its own sounds, creating a uniqueness that cannot be found anywhere else. That’s how they ended up with 1460 sounds for Paris, 1352 for Amsterdam and 1889 for Brussels. It has been observed that a single interactive billboard, without any visual content, is more than enough to grab the attention of passengers, creating an urge to travel and explore other cities as they wouldn’t imagine. Each sound is associated with different feelings and that’s how these billboards turned into a success from the very first day.

Thalys Trains records Sounds of the City

People of all ages stopped and kept listening to new sounds, leaving with a wide smile, feeling as if they were travelling to another place (and time, thanks to the archived sounds).

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‘The Sounds of the City’ was another successful case of ambient advertising and the art of placing an ad in an unusual, or unexpected place, providing that you’ve used the right media and the right context for the audience, in order to embrace the unexpected.

As we mentioned while we were describing ambient advertising in the past,

‘So that’s ambient advertising. It can be shocking, surprising or funny! It can be found anywhere and everywhere. It’s about creating a new way of thinking.’

And that’s exactly what Thalys achieved by focusing on sounds of each city!

Thalys Trains records Sounds of the City Thalys Trains records Sounds of the City


Advertising Agency: Rosapark, Paris, France
Creative Directors: Mark Forgan, Jamie Standen
Art Director: Olivier Lafaysse
Copywriter: Lucile Briotet
Co-Founders: Jean François Sacco, Jean Patrick Chiquiar, Gilles Fichteberg
Managing Director: Delphine Drutel
Account Manager: Camille Hemet
Sound Producer: Matthieu Sibony / Schmooze
Sound Mixing: Sylvain Rety / Schmooze
Case Director: Vincent Rodella
Production Company: Birth
Producer: Hugo Birth
Published: April 2015

Written by Tereza Litsa

Social media and content manager, blogging about social media and marketing.

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