• 04.07.09

Obscura Digital Can Make Your Brand Big…Really, Really Big

We recently named the firm Obscura Digital one of the top ten innovative companies in advertising and marketing, but their work really puts traditional advertising to shame. Obscura first worked the festival circuit, creating immersive experiences with domes and multiple projectors.

Obscura Digital Can Make Your Brand Big…Really, Really Big


One of Obscura’s best known projects, iGoogle Artist Themes involved turning an entire city block of the Meatpacking District in New York into a series of projected, interactive billboards, where the work of artists like Jeff Koons and Marc Ecko were blown up to five stories tall for the three night event. Or you may have spotted Adobe CS3, an interactive window display advertising Adobe’s new Creative
Suite release that became visually
hyperactive based on how many people walked by on the street, and even
how close they came to the screen. The collaboration with Goodby
Silverstein & Partners and Brand New School transformed windows of
the Virgin Megastores in Union Square, New York, and Picadilly Circus
in London.

Want to experience some of Obscura Digital’s projects in person? Get their iPhone app
which uses a mapping function to show you which of their projects are
nearby. If you’re near their office in San Francisco you can use the
iPhone to control the graphics in the installations constantly running
in their Demo Room. You can also rent out that space and hire Obscura
to transform it into the experience of your choice.  

Four More Unforgettable Experiences

Before Cornell was at Obscura, he worked on some massive projects for the auto industry through the experience marketing firm George P. Johnson. Here are some of our favorites for Scion, Acura and Honda.


Scion Mix It Up was an early way to show consumers how customizable the cars were. A massive kiosk allowed people to pick colors and options for their own vehicle. These were rendered into beautiful 3-D graphics that could be emailed to users or made into a t-shirt.

Acura Interactive Oracle is a circular monitor that feels like the pool of a wishing well, where users can touch the screen to activate color and sounds that represent different elements of Acura’s brand (like design and performance). If many users interact with it at once, creating the right “balance” between all Acura’s features, it rewards them with a beautiful graphic show.

Honda Safety Crash Test was a cool solution to what could have been a mundane topic: Safety. The designers decided that people actually like watching cars crash so they created an experience that let people manipulate videos of cars crashing while graphics showed what technologies would save you. The video-game-like console uses hardware that brings to mind a missile launching control room, where users can scroll slow motion through footage of a Honda smashing head on into a wall.

Honda FCX Clarity Exhibit was used to walk consumers through a pretty radical concept: That someday drivers will be able to power theirs cars (and their homes) with hydrogen fuel cells. The designers anticipated the questions that consumers would be asking about the process and broke that down into a circular kiosk with a series of videos and interactive screens.

Related: The Most Innovative Companies in Advertising & Marketing

About the author

Alissa is a design writer for publications like Fast Company, GOOD and Dwell who can most often be found in Los Angeles. She likes to walk, ride the bus, and eat gelato.