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Contagion’s bacteria billboard will give you an immediate urge to wash your hands

The new film Contagion has jokingly been referred to as a 105-minute reminder of the benefits of hand-washing. And while that’s not all that far from the truth (we left our screening wondering where we could buy a surgical mask), a piece of innovative marketing for the film has apparently embraced that notion.

Embracing the literal nature of “viral” marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures created a pair of billboards for Contagion composed entirely of harmless (we assume) bacteria and fungi. The germs were added to billboard-size petri dishes in a pattern that would allow the film’s title to be revealed as the bacteria and fungi grew.

In the video below, you can watch the advertisement for the film grow before your eyes — and see the initially curious, then horrified response the billboards received people passing by the Toronto storefronts where they were mounted.

In the end, you have to hand it to the WB marketing team. They managed to create a truly one-of-a-kind promotion.