With so many distractions in everyday life, it can be hard to stand out—especially if you’re in advertising. It’s even more of a challenge if you’re in a bustling metropolis like Tokyo. But one billboard in the city is capturing the attention of passersby. The eye-catching advertisement features a video of a massive cat who looks like it's watching over the streets below and even talks, telling people nyannichiwa—the word is a blend of the Japanese word konnichiwa (meaning “hello”) and nyan for meow.
Visible in the Shinjuku district, the 3D calico cat acts like a real feline; it yawns, naps, and surveys its territory like the ruler of a kingdom. The virtual kitty does all this on a “shelf,” which has perspective-enhancing shading to add to the illusion. And thanks to its placement on a curved screen, the designers were able to create a convincing environment where this cat resides.
The monumental cat was developed for Cross Space, the company that owns the building that contains the curved screen. Its intention is to brighten the mood of a city still struggling with high COVID-19 infections.
“There are many reasons we decided to display the cat, but one of the big reasons is that with corona, the world became very dark,” explains Takayuki Ohkawa, a spokesman for the Japanese company Unika (one of the two companies running the billboard). “Through the cat display, we wanted to revive Shinjuku and make it brighter.”
The 4K feline officially “opens” on Monday, July 12, 2021, and it will air between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. If you’re outside of Tokyo and want to see the cat in action, you’re in luck—there is a livestream page on YouTube that anyone can tune into.
A new billboard in Tokyo's Shinjuku district features a massive 3D cat looking over the city below.
Passersby are enthralled by the calico who yawns, naps, and even talks.
— 新宿東口の猫 (@cross_s_vision) July 5, 2021
— ノルさん🐈 (@nornornorsan) July 5, 2021
— 新宿東口の猫 (@cross_s_vision) July 6, 2021