CONTAGION billboard grown from bacteria

You’ve heard of viral campaigns, but you probably haven’t encountered bacterial marketing – or, more specifically, a billboard crawling with live bacteria cultures. But that’s exactly what marketers from Warner Bros. Canada put together last week: not one, but two enormous, mounted petri dishes inoculated with cultures of penicillin, mold and pigmented bacteria. Over the course of the week, the cultures eventually grew to spell out CONTAGION, the title of the star-studded flick (Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law) that hit theatres last week.

It is, without a doubt, the most disgusting marketing gimmick ever, but it’s also one of the more ingenious (if excessively literal) in a season rife with cheesy promo campaigns. HBO, for example, recently installed an early 20th-century Subway car running in NYC on Sundays to promote the second season of “Boardwalk Empire.” Okay, actually that’s kind of the coolest thing ever.

Regardless of whether or not I’m just a sucker for goofy new marketing ploys, I tip my hat to the Canadian geek-marketing squad responsible for the bacteria-riddled billboards. They may not actually make me wanna watch the movie, but I do kinda want to find my old science kit and figure out how to spell my name in penicillin.