Ambient Ambushes

Renovation of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate began in November, but the ugly scaffolding that usually surrounds such a building site is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the city's 18th century landmark has been swathed in a series of gigantic posters promoting Deutsche Telekom. The wrapping of construction scaffolding in mammoth ad posters is just one example of "ambient media," a fast-growing marketing genre that's finding new places to advertise in the Old World.

Sarah Hayes, ambient manager at Blade, a London company that buys outdoor space, defines ambient media as "nontraditional, out-of-home" advertising with a gotcha! factor. Adds Samantha...

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