These AR-enhanced bus stop ads are almost confusing as the show.

We’re only two episodes deep into the first season of HBO’s Watchmen and already the series has proven to be one of this years weirdest, most polarizing shows. Masked police officers dance the line between law enforcement and vigilantism, Robert Redford — yes, the actor — has been President of the United States for three decades, and dead squid periodically rains down from the sky. Yes, torrential downpours of dead squid. 

So what better way to help advertise one of the most bizarre new shows on TV than with an equally bizarre AR promo. 

Outdoor media and advertising company OUTFRONT Media recently installed AR-enhanced displays at bus stops throughout Los Angeles and New York that offer commuters a unique — albeit slightly off-putting — immersive experience. The seemingly average displays, referred to by the company as “liveviews,” began by flashing a strict warning for bystanders to seek shelter before layering a heavy downpour of augmented reality squid over the city streets. After the storm passes and the ground has been sufficiently covered in deceased cephalopods, the AR-enhanced display then displays a countdown to the series premiere of Watchmen on HBO. 

Image Credit: OUTFRONT Media

Cool, but why squids though? 

If you’re unfamiliar with Alan Moore’s original 1980s comic book, Watchmen, a “superhero” by the name of Ozymandias teleports a giant alien squid to the center of Manhattan with the purpose of uniting the Soviet Union and the United States against a common enemy and averting all-out nuclear war. And though series producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) has stated the show is more of a remix rather than a strict continuation of the original, he has also confirmed that all the events that took place in the comic book hold true in this universe as well. As I said, it’s a bizarre show. 

The series premiere drew in an impressive 1.5 million viewers, with episode two capturing a slightly smaller, but still commendable 1.3 million. Considering the show still has plenty of insanely weird inspiration it can draw from the original comics, I doubt this is the last strange immersive promotion we’ll see from HBO.

Feature Image Credit: OUTFRONT Media

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