In the out-of-home advertising domain, there are many mediums and outdoor executions to choose from. One that stands out among the rest, that is prominent in many urban areas across the world, is transit advertising. This form of OOH has the ability to be mobile, while targeting wide demographics of people both using public transit and passing it by. Transit advertising has the power to be singularly static or transformative with digital LED displays. This article will unpack what transit advertising is capable of and pinpoint a few remarkable examples of campaigns that took form on transit surfaces.
What Transit Advertising Entails
Chances are, when you're near a bus route, a subway station, or a transit shelter, you will come to find an advertisement not affiliated with the direct mode of transit but meant to represent a brand, company, or product targeting you. Transit advertising is the overarching term meant to describe ads that are found attached to the interiors and exteriors of public transportation vehicles, such as buses or subways, bus shelters, and common areas in or around transit terminals and stations. It's an important asset of OOH advertising because it provides high visibility for a company on an ongoing basis. Audiences can't turn transit off, so it's routinely present and able to reach tons of demographic variables.
Take the example of the public transit bus wrap in the above picture to heart when it comes to a successful OOH execution. The public bus was reimagined by the advertiser, and their team, by cloaking the common vehicle in the original tabasco bottle making it appear to be a firetruck. Using the same color palette and fiery energy that the hot sauce brings to the table, the public transit bus looks mighty similar to a fire engine. Using an extension of ladders on the sides and top of the bus really drive home the meaning of the product's heat. This ad took a normal bus and gave it a character.
How Transit Advertising is Versatile
Transit advertising provides full market coverage and has the accessibility to reach multiple locations in any given place, a quality that static billboard advertising lacks. The above example shows a groundbreaking transit advertisement inside a subway tunnel, proving that this form of advertising reaches new heights. The Lays potatoes on the ceiling have the effect of growing through the tiles, eliciting a direct response from the commuters below. Transit advertising is known to be great for reach and frequency, as well as creativity. Who would've thought an ad inside a subway station can appear to break through a ceiling mold? That's versatility.
According to Rachana Lokhande, the CO-CEO of Kinetic India, she explains, "Transit media is high frequency media and I feel it works best for a brand when it wants to drive footfalls to stores. Every medium brings to life its own uniqueness to add value to the campaign." (Mahayan 2019), and in the example above that last sentence definitely rings true. The transit advertising medium uses its surface areas in interesting, notable ways to keep people interested and involved in a brand's messaging.
The Absolut Bus Shelters
Absolut Vodka took OOH transit advertising to another level with this astonishing transit shelter ad display that oozes aesthetic excellence. They transformed a range of Chicago bus shelters into their vodka related flavors to promote their "DRINKS" campaign. Each bus shelter was allotted a specific flavor such as, "Lemon Drop", "Bloody", and "Twist", where custom seating and vibrant colors were implanted to match the personality of the flavor. In the case of the "Lemon Drop" shelter, live plants were grown on top. This level of creativity gave Absolut Vodka an OOH freshness made capable by using regular bus shelters.
Science World Sneeze Shelter
To promote the Science World museum in Vancouver, these bus shelters were tampered with to give people waiting around a little surprise. Transit passengers were able to push a big yellow button on the inside of the shelter and get lightly sprayed by a mist of water vapor. After this lighthearted occurrence went down, a recorded voice began talking about sneezing facts along with a call-to-action to visit Science World. This transit shelter became an interactive experience that commuters can take something away from.
Vitamin Water's Ski Lift Bench
To celebrate Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics, Vitamin Water recreated a bus-stop bench into a makeshift ski lift that encouraged commuters to take part in an olympic experience. The chair itself is an ambient advertisement in the category of an OOH transit ad. The shelter poster next to it reads, "Try Vitamin Water. It makes the daily routine feel like an olympic event.", which gives commuters an imaginative perspective of their daily surroundings in relation to riveting activities.
All in all, transit advertisements have a high success rate and drive many demographics forward in enjoying OOH experiences with brands. Target Marketing recommends using eye-catching images that tell a story with limited text to best capture passerby's attention. People outdoors are very visually receptive, as we know. After looking at these amazing OOH transit advertisements, it's easy to see how commuters and otherwise gain value from this platform.
Mahayan, Dolly (1 March 2019). The growing power of Transit Advertising. exchange 4 media. Retrieved from: https://www.exchange4media.com/out-of-home-news/the-growing-power-of-transit-advertising-95029.html