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Connecting with Irish Commuters

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It is 30 years since Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann were established. In that time nearly all major brands have appeared on buses taking advantage of the significant audiences delivered on a national, main city and local level via their advertising formats, writes Antoinette O’Callaghan.

Bus advertising presents its own Out-of-Home ecosystem. Internal formats reach “captive” bus passengers who actually do need to look up from their smart phones once in a while – if only to remember to get off at the right stop.  High dwell time coupled with the fact that bus passengers have smart phones makes advertising on bus internals a valuable and lucrative proposition for advertisers.

But it’s the outside of buses that maximise creative opportunity and audience reach – a veritable Out-of-Home match made in heaven.

The average double decker bus on our roads presents a significant canvas for advertising messages, just shy of twelve metres long and over 4 metres in height – that’s nearly twice the width of a 48 sheet billboard and a metre taller. Not long ago colour buses were hand painted productions expertly undertaken by a select few sign writers, taking weeks to complete.  Advances in digital printing techniques over the years means that advertising for this large expanse of space is now printed on vinyl in a matter of hours, increasing flexibility and accessibility for brands.

Pic: McDonald’s, PML

T-sides, Supersides, Sightlines, City Impacts and most recently Capital T’s, are the workhorses of bus advertising.  Public transport buses are on the road from 6.00am each day so it’s no surprise that audience reach and speed of communication of messages is high. After just seven days an average campaign of 80 T-sides (as measured by Joint National Outdoor Research JNOR) will reach 72% of Adults in the Dublin commuter belt and will cover 85% of this audience by the end of a 14 day cycle. And this significant audience coverage delivers tangible results.  In the first three months of this year T-Side and Superside formats had the highest level of recall of any Out-of-Home format as measured by PML Group Poster Impact Research.

Each format delivers its own unique creative space “speaking” to pedestrians and motorists alike. Supersides, 3 metres above the road, cut through street clutter in close proximity to pedestrians and shoppers, delivering great opportunity for attention grabbing headlines. The most distinctive format, T-Sides, combines the ability to deliver great headlines with eye catching graphics. The introduction of Capital Ts to the bus format stable in 2016 extends the canvas by 46% thus enhancing overall brand impact. Sightlines, on the lower rear of buses, are, as the name suggests, directly in the line of vision of motorists and their passengers.

Dublin Bus Celebrating 30 Years of Legends and Stories

The movement of buses may well attract attention but like all advertising its good content that captures the imagination. The “not off the shelf” formats push creative teams to deliver advertising copy that isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. The sheer size of the available canvas on bus rears and on full bus wraps ensure unrivalled opportunities for brand impact.

Until now these formats have only been available on the Dublin Bus fleet. The good news for Advertisers is that these iconic bus formats, T-Sides, Supersides and Sightlines, will be available in Cork, Limerick and Galway from September of this year on Bus Éireann’s fleet of double deckers.

Much progress has been made in the Out-of-Home space in recent years. There has been extensive growth in digital Out-of-Home networks and the medium is experiencing a renaissance in the marketplace. With much change afoot in the media world it is reassuring to know that the humble bus continues to deliver passengers, audiences and impact.

Antoinette O’Callaghan Marketing Manager at Exterion Media

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ July/August 2017)© to order back issues please call 016611660