Monkey see. Will monkey do in downtown D.C.?

National Geo experiments in nation’s capital for TV show

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An award-winning company based in the U.K. attempted to pull off a kind of “monkey see, monkey do” project in busy downtown D.C. on Thursday.

On the west side of 18th Street at L in Northwest, a cellphone with the words “CELLPHONES WALK IN THIS LANE AT YOUR OWN RISK” were stenciled, along with arrows, on the far-right side of the block.

A dividing line on the other side of the block dished instructions as well: A circle contained a stenciled cellphone with the universal sign for not allowed. Below it were the words “NO CELLPHONES.”

It wasn’t a stunt by the city’s Department of Public Works or transportation department, though it was obvious why some pedestrians thought it was.

It was Tigress Productions, whose supervising production manager, Zac Nealy, said the project was part of behavior research programming for National Geographic TV.

Mr. Nealy said he couldn’t give away “all the creative details,” but he hopes the program will air by year’s end.

Many passersby never noticed the stenciling, but they did notice something else: Someone dressed as an ape and pretending to eat a banana.

Many pedestrians moving to and fro during lunchtime did precisely as you might expect, and that’s take pictures of the ape.

Turning their attention to the sidewalk cellphone instructions, not so much.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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