Corporate Eye

13th Street Creative Ambient Media Advertising – Bowlingheads

If you’ve been reading the Corporate Eye blog for a while, then you might already know that I’m a big fan of creative ambient media. It’s such a great way to bring a brand to life where consumers already spend time — within their daily lives and activities.

To advertise German television’s horror channel 13th Street, Jung von Matt/Elbe, Germany developed an ambient media campaign that would bring the horror show to bowling alley patrons in a way no one expected. With famous spraygun artist Oliver Paass, the agency designed a variety of bowling balls painted to look like cut-off heads. In addition, a number of black balls with the message “13th Street – Scream your head off!” were added to the mix (painted in German of course). The special bowling balls replaced standard balls in a number of German bowling alleys. You can see what happened in the video below.

I like this ambient media campaign because it does an excellent job of piquing consumers’ interests about the brand and television channel. The bowling balls aren’t intrusive to people’s lives, but they do make people take a second look and ponder them for a moment. In other words, the bowling balls give consumers a way to engage with the brand in a new way that might lead to further interest in the brand. For 13th Street, hopefully that interest turned into viewers. Let’s face it. If these scary looking bowling balls are intriguing enough to you that they motivate you to check out 13th Street, you’re probably in the right target audience and will like what you find on the channel.

I’m going to assume that the agency did some research or had access to data that showed its target audience spends a lot of time in bowling alleys. If so, then the campaign is brilliant. I’m also going to assume that the spray-painted balls replaced the standard balls at appropriate times of the day when the target audience frequents bowling alleys but most small children do not. It wouldn’t look good if kids saw these scary bowling balls and went screaming in terror out of the bowling alley.

What do you think about the 13th Street ambient media campaign? Love it or hate it? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.