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What’s going on in our world – design, advertising, inspiration and a lot of Swedishness.

City Billboards

Every morning, I drive across the East Bay to San Francisco. It’s a nice drive, with views across the Bay, the Port of Oakland, the new Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline. But as soon as I reach that final stretch after the bridge and enter San Francisco, all I can see are those gigantic billboards. On the stretch of Highway 101 from San Francisco to San Jose, they go on and on – tech billboard after tech billboard. 

And it’s like entering a new world; a new world with its own language. A world where tech companies compete to grab a few seconds (and what could be minutes, in traffic) of a developer’s attention, costing them between $14,000 to $60,000 a month to rent. And like everything else in the Bay Area, prices are rising.

But once in a while, lost between those bold messages in unintelligible tech jargon on plain backgrounds, a few campaigns stand out. There was the Dice campaign that made buzz with its half-naked tech engineers and probably did its job. It definitely made me chuckle but I couldn’t help but see it as a sad representation of the tech world.

Right now the campaign that is winning is comprised of strictly photography. What a nice change, to look at beautiful photographs. ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ - the message is simple and the photos do the rest. 

The campaign, featuring around 60 photographs taken by iPhone 6 users, is global with billboards across the planet, from North and South America to Europe, from the Middle East to East Asia. 

A clever way to both promote the Apple World Gallery and its apps - photography, videography and editing - while also giving people more reasons to buy the iPhone 6 and make the most of it.

My commute stops in San Francisco, but for those of you who have to go down the 101, you might have also spotted this campaign that was making fun of it all. Recently a few billboards were featuring a woman playing an acoustic guitar with the words ‘I am Pied Piper’. The ad is definitely targeting a restricted audience – not just the usual developers but also avid watchers of the HBO comedy show “Silicon Valley”. Watch episode 3 to understand!