The majority of city bus drivers travel every day mingling with thousands of potential consumers. The daily commute in every metropolis is filled with opportunities for forward thinking companies to get their messages across to the public. Bus advertising differs from other types of outdoor, non transit, advertising, mainly because most outdoor advertising are static in nature and consist of advertisements on larger format free-standing displays, next to the road and on buildings, walls and other constructions, typically used to reach the mass market or large number of travelers in vehicular traffic while buses are constantly on the move – literally delivering a company’s message wherever the masses are. Buses have specific routes, which essentially means that potential advertising companies could use population statistics and metrics to target potential neighborhood markets that they feel would align with their products. Mass transit advertising media are mainly used to reach a broad commuter market,
Actually, if you compare the cost of outdoor advertising vs.vehicle advertising, the better and more affordable choice would be vehicle wraps. In addition vehicle wraps advertisements utilized via buses have a tendency of increasing the number of “unique” or “first time” visuals experienced by commuters and general passerbys. Bus advertising also provides stunning, eye-grabbing vehicle graphics that would get noticed again and again – mainly because while the routes stay the same, each bus’s travel circuit may vary from day to day and week to week. Potentially creating a new audience subgroup every day!
So how does a company take advantage of, or to be more accurate, create opportunities for their product or service to be placed on buses within their city? Firstly, it is important for each company to identify which section of the population they would want to reach. Then get in touch with their chosen city’s bus company, or companies if there are multiple, to research each bus’s daily schedule and courses around your metropolitan area. Remember, most cities have buses that run for the entire week, some up to 20 hours each day. So it is imperative for a company to make the right choice between bus routes to amplify their particular message or messages. What every potential company advertising should be mindful of is that there are several cities around the world that ‘catching the bus’ is quite the common occurrence and is even encouraged because of how inconvenient using a personal car for travel within city limits has become. From the environmental concerns of traffic to exorbitant parking fees, even just finding a proper place to park is frustrating enough to have more and more city inhabitants actively choosing to use the bus as their primary mode of transport. It is not just the people who board buses each day who are potential targets for these bus adverts but as was mentioned above, these adverts garner its real value from its effect on drivers in other vehicles on the road and pedestrians alike.
What Are The Different Bus Advertising Formats Used?
Another key point is that in addition to being normally displayed on the sides of buses, bus advertisements are versatile enough to appear on the back, on top and even inside of the bus and can be placed with many different variations. From side, billboard, windshield visor, side highlite, mega side, curbside, panel, partial to full wrap and contour cut, bus advertising has the ability to fit whatever’s required by the marketing department of the company advertising. Each format has its clear detailed benefits:
- Billboard or Showcase is quite popular as its name suggests. It only covers only part of the bus, which means that outside observers still could peer into the bus but also giving passengers the option of sitting behind the showcase if they want protection from the sun or for some other reason.
- The Mega Side or Roadside Giant is a large wrap in billboard style that covers at least one side of the bus’s exterior. This format normally draws the attention of pedestrians, drivers and passengers.
- Side Highlite is a format that places the advert in a small band above the passengers’ eye level. This advertisement setup is utilized when it is not possible, for whatever reason, to do the more popular larger format. However, the beauty is that this space could be used for glass branding, bus livery and even signage. Again, as with the other placements, these decals aid in the reduction of UV, glare and heat gain.
- Curbside or Portrait, this format is often the size of a supersized poster. Portrait, still can deliver the message the marketing department of a company wants albeit at a little cheaper price than the larger more overwhelming placements. Still easily viewed by passersby.
- Total Wrap or Full Wrap, as the name suggests, covers the entire exterior of the selected buses from the fleet. This is done with a mixture of window film and solid vinyl. The most expensive of placements with good reason however as it is the one with most guaranteed to catch the eye.
- The Contour Cut is a format that applies specially die-cut window graphics often using perforated vinyl while implementing the advertisements on the buses selected.
- The Bus Back or Mega Rear has the back window graphics visible to people on both sides of the road, as opposed to being constricted to one side featured by some of the format arrangements. Despite the negative ‘back of the bus’ connotation, this option might be quite favorable to many companies as it is very visible and will impact people every day.
- Finally, there is the Windshield Visor option. This format is actually used, internally, by bus companies to highlight their routes and/or bus company’s livery with glass branding. As opposed to making it available for outside interests to monopolize.
How Are These Advertisements Applied?
Now you might be asking, ‘How Do They Get These Ads On The Bus?’ Well it is quite the process as it is all done by hand. Installing a full wrap could take maybe four to six hours per bus. The designers will get the dimensions of the bus that is selected and use that to create the design. That design is then printed on a pressure sensitive vinyl, quite similar to a giant sticker. This vinyl is specially designed to strip off easily so it does not damage the bus’s window tint nor its paint job when the advertisement is finally removed. Because of the sheer size of the installation job, it might require two or three people. They would start at the top of the bus and drop the vinyl along the sides and then press it into place with a tool. The pressure, once applied, will release the glue from the vinyl that would attach it to the bus. This is repeated many times until the entire bus is covered. Afterwards the installers will have to trim the vinyl around the features of the bus such as the windows, doors and air vents. The glue could last years or however long each advert takes to run its course. Smaller adverts can take only an hour to apply so time could be saved that way.
Well that is a roundup of what bus advertising, especially in a metropolitan area, aims to do. Buses help advertisers take advantage of an underused method of promotion and use transit advertising to get their various messages seen all across whatever city they are displayed in. It would make perfect sense for each potential advertiser to research the type of impact they want to make with their choice of format and one that coincides with the company’s budget.