The “Captivate Network” is a digital advertising network that runs top headlines and ads on small, flat-planel televisions in the elevators of many high-rise office buildings. Their slogan, which appears intermittently on the screen, is "Saving you from having to make awkward small talk: Captivate your audience."
I take the elevator to the 19th floor every morning, to and from lunch every afternoon, and down every evening, and I’ll concede that their tactic is 100% effective: instead of seeking refuge in the neutrality of work and weather conversations, each passenger is instantly hypnotized by the flashing words and images on the screen. We quickly assume the appearance of zombies holding cups of coffee. Lips parted, eyes wide, faces gone white. Possible victims of a mass bloodletting.
What actually keeps me entertained, though, is the new kind of awkwardness that emerges from inhabiting a tiny box with strangers, collectively staring at the following headline on a random Wednesday morning in silence:
SEVERED HEAD HUNG FROM BRIDGE IN TIJUANA, MEXICO