Viewers tuning in to a number of Sky channels in the U.K. this week will see a very strange sight indeed—a two-minute commercial in which almost nothing happens, and there's no voiceover, no people and no product pitch, except for a simple URL at the end.
In fact, the spot is almost an anti-ad.
"The world is becoming an increasingly noisy place and sometimes whispering can be more effective than shouting. No one has ever created an ad quite like this, and we hope viewers will enjoy this rare moment of calm," says Michael Acton Smith, co-founder of a mindfulness app called Calm, which made the ad and bought the airtime.
The creative was developed by agency Dancing Aardvarks, and it simply shows five relaxing scenes—a mountain view, waves onto a beach, rain in a forest, a lakeside sunset and an underwater scene. The only sounds are those of nature.
It seems anti-commercial, but in fact it's not. The Calm app, while free to download and try, costs $9.99 for a monthly subscription or $39.99 for a year. As a stunt, though, the creative certainly stands out—and nicely embodies what the app itself claims to do: help you relax and be less stressed.
It also builds on a phenomenon called "Slow TV" that has become hip in Europe. Examples include the broadcast in Norway of a seven-hour train ride between Oslo and Bergen (which a quarter of the population reportedly tuned in for) as well as a three-hour National Gallery tour and a two-hour canal boat trip broadcast on the BBC.