Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bus stop ads dare you to challenge Houdini

Bus stop ads have begun to appear for HISTORY's Houdini miniseries, and some come with a highly original twist! The photos below from Red Eye Chicago shows an ad in Chicago that fills with water as you test your ability to hold your breath as long as Houdini.

These breath testing Houdini ads can be found at:

300 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
105 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
259 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

And if any of you are tut-tutting about this being a vulgar publicity trick, remember that Houdini once hired seven bald men to sit on a city street, and as pedestrians would pass by they'd remove their hats and bow their heads to reveal: H-O-U-D-I-N-I.

Houdini premiers September 1 at 9/8c.


  1. I like it. I've worked on bus shelter ads and it's not easy to come up with inventive new ideas. These ads work well because they're very site-specific. You have to walk up, read and interact with it. Very unusual and compelling. I think HH would approve. Will it bring in viewers? Who knows.

  2. As cool as these ads are, I think that Disney/A&E/HISTORY kind of blew it with their overall promotion of this miniseries. They could have hired a few escape artists to perform Houdini-style strait jacket escapes at public spaces around the country. This was a very unique opportunity to promote a movie by using the very spectacle that made the subject of that movie so famous.
    I'm not suggesting that they should've robbed a bank to promote Bonnie and Clyde or pillaged a town to sell Vikings, but in this case, because it's Houdini, I think it would've worked.

  3. And another thing…
    These events would've been covered by tv and web news, TMZ and every other entertainment show, not to mention the strong possibility of going viral on youtube. They would've gotten a ton of free publicity.
    And since Disney owns HISTORY, they could've had a suspended escape at Disneyland, right in front of their very own Houdini magic shop, for crying out loud! Oh well.

    1. Disney owns HISTORY? How did I not know that?

      A while back it was announced that HISTORY was going to air a special called "Houdini Live" that would have an escape artist recreating Houdini's escape and then a big mega escape grand finale. But I've heard nothing more about this.

      So far there's been less promotion and hype than I expected. No crossovers yet? I was expecting the American Pickers and Pawn Stars to magically discover Houdini items.

  4. Wikipedia:
    History (originally The History Channel from 1995 to 2008) is owned by A+E Networks, a joint venture between the Hearst Corporation and the Disney–ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company.

    Maybe HISTORY works independently and within their own budget. Maybe they thought it wasn't worth the money. Sigh.

    1. Disney. They're everywhere.

      I'd be perfectly happy to see Disney bring Houdini into their fold.

    2. That would be great. Imagine a Houdini-themed ride at Disneyland.