Why Trucks are the New Kings of Transit Advertising
Illustrative image for blog about transit advertising

What is Transit Advertising?

What, we hear you ask (a lot!), is ‘transit’ advertising? It is a form of ‘out of home’ (OOH) advertising that has been growing in popularity over the last few decades as we spend more time out and about for work and pleasure. Transit advertising is essentially putting your brand on the side of anything that is moving – i.e., buses, trams, tubes – and now lorries. 

We caught on long ago that passengers on public transport were prime targets for eye fodder, particularly the passive, seated transports like buses and tubes. Back in 1984 the New York Times ran an article entitled “The Growing Appeal of Transit Advertising” with the insight that “Companies say they are drawn to transit advertising because of its mass reach and relatively low cost and because it can reach targeted audiences frequently.” The appeal of this ability to reach the masses and yet ‘target’ an audience at the same time has only grown. (The irony of the date is not lost on us…Big Brother was now paying for YOU to watch IT!)

How is Transit Advertising changing?

There are some great examples of ‘out of home’ advertising – only last month we noticed CV Library on the Underground and The Open University poster in a train station. We recognise these brands because we know them already, of course, and therein lies the power. These posters served as a gentle reminder that there is a better life waiting for you if you just upskill or get out of that job you hate! The more ‘drip drip’ exposure your brand has, the more it has the power to impact. Transit advertising is incredibly powerful at complementing your other campaigns for improving reach and impact.

We can’t help but think that times are changing somewhat though. We were specifically looking for the examples above (and found others we loved – including Cinch and Broadband Genie for their design and message impact). But when was the last time you sat on a bus or a tube and stared idly round you, reading whatever material you could lay your eyes on through boredom…? (Or avoiding eye contact at all costs!). We can almost guarantee you were reading the news, or catching up on messaging – on your mobile phone. It is the browser pop-ups and the cleverly targeted (and paid for) social media ads that you now skim over as you hurtle towards your destination. Surely the captive audience that was the ‘transit’ marketer’s dream is now a candidate for ‘mobile’ advertising NOT ‘transit’ advertising!! Mobile advertising – the new understanding of it – has, in fact, replaced the hearts and minds of those who used to be spending long minutes reading the clever copy on tube posters and inside buses. 

Is there a Future for Transit Advertising?

And yet… Where is the one place you MUST be aware of your surroundings at all times? Where, in fact, NOT knowing which vehicles are around you can be deadly… Where is the one place where you absolutely CANNOT be distracted by your phone? And where will you be fined £200 and 6 penalty points for just touching it? 

Yep. In your car. Your mobile simply cannot be a distraction. Which leaves us with some pretty obvious conclusions. Even if you are happily pootling along with no traffic, you cannot fail to notice the vehicles around you. Have you ever played the Eddie Stobart game? Or made words (rude or otherwise!) from registration plates? Have you tagged any #dmspotteds recently? You get the point. We are very conscious of the thousands of vehicles we pass everyday – even when moving. A potential client commented this week on his ability to come up with better entertainment than ‘clean me’ for the thousands of road users and passengers who will see his ‘rear end’ daily! 

Imagine, then, how much attention we pay to the vehicles around us when stuck in traffic? And how much impact a well-thought out design could have. And if a passenger is using their mobile, any call to action could be acted upon immediately! “Honey – look at that – Pay as You Go Car Insurance! That’s exactly what you need…why don’t you have a quick look – it says  it only takes a few minutes to sign up…” Or “Johnny Junior – what’s the name of that truck we just we passed? The one with the orange and white spades? Take a photo will you? Your Mum will love that stuff.”

Time and Technique speaks Volumes

According to research, we spend an average of 9 hours in our cars every week… How much time do you spend on buses? How long are you stood in the tube station or how many seconds do you spare to glance around you at the posters in the tubes, or the billboards that pepper our streets? The truth is we really don’t stop and smell the flowers anymore. While that is sad for our stress levels, it also has an impact on your wonderfully designed and thought out billboards. The ‘dwell time’ behind a rear end can be an incredible opportunity. Using space to create impact is a great design technique (we’ll share some more tips soon), but the space you have to play with on the back of a truck is an excitingly large canvas. Take a look at what some of our clients have done recently.

If you would like to find out more about how a truck advertising campaign can complement your current campaign, or you’d like to take your brand to a whole new level, we’re here and listening. Give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to share some facts and figures with you, or go through some design ideas.

Have a great weekend!

The Driven Media Team