Posters sing out for music month

By Holly Ryan

Street adverts around the country use touch technology to play music by Kiwi bands.

Peter Dick says the musical posters provide a way to showcase local talent. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Peter Dick says the musical posters provide a way to showcase local talent. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand Music Month kicks off today, paying homage to some of the country's biggest artists and this year key sponsor Beck's plans to make the advertising sing.

Beer brand Beck's New Zealand, which is distributed by Lion, has teamed up with advertising agency Shine to create the world's first playable street posters, which play music at the touch of a finger.

The technology behind the posters was designed in Cambridge, England, but has never been used commercially. According to Pete Dick, Beck's New Zealand brand manager, the posters are perfect for celebrating New Zealand music month.

"Globally Beck's has always been closely assimilated with music, art and fresh thinking and in New Zealand we're leading the charge when it comes to cutting edge technology," Dick said.

"The playable posters we've developed to promote New Zealand musicians are an exciting new medium for us, and provide a way to showcase some amazing local talent."

The creative idea for the posters began 18 months ago after the launch of playable beer bottles by Beck's. Having worked with Beck's to create the bottles, Simon Curran, managing director of Shine, and his team began to investigate what other objects could play music.

"The thing we're quite excited about is where to next from here, because you can take what is effectively an inanimate object, in this case a poster, but it could be a tabletop or a floor or a brick and suddenly that can come to life," Curran said.

The street posters use conductive ink which is printed onto the reverse of the poster.

The ink creates touch sensors which pick up electrical signals from fingers, and is connected to a processor at the back of the card which gives iPad-like touch to the paper. When activated, an electric speaker at the rear reverberates the board, turning it into an 80-watt speaker.

The posters feature new audio tracks commissioned by Beck's from 10 local bands including the Phoenix Foundation, Third3ye and Two Wolves, tracks which were released for the first time today. The street posters will be spread around Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Whangarei, Wellington and Dunedin over the first week of music month.

Curran said that while the use of the technology for music month was exciting, it had much broader applications in other areas.

"This technology is a genuine game changer for street posters and we're proud to be the first in the world to harness its awesome potential.

"I expect we'll start to see this technology used in a variety of applications."

Adverts sing

• Posters promoting music month will play tracks by 10 Kiwi bands.
• Each poster contains around 12 minutes of new music with 20 touch points.
• Becks New Zealand will also host a number of free concerts throughout the month.

- NZ Herald

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