This summer I finally realized my dream vacation to France and the UK and traveled from Paris to London in a Eurostar that goes from under the English Channel. Yes!! I was super charged to soak in every bit of this experience that I had been planning since I can remember, and most importantly take a much deserved break from work (or so what I thought). But I guess, as a marketer you cannot stop appreciating the different and most creative ways in which companies are reaching out to their customers.
This is where I want to share my overwhelming experience both as a marketer and a consumer while taking the metro (in Paris), train and tubes (in London).
Gare Du Nord Station (Paris)
St. Pancras station (London)
Euston station (London)
Notes from my travel diary:
- Taking a metro or a tube is an inescapable part of everyone’s life here…be it a resident or a tourist
- It is much more than a journey; it is an experience!
- Interestingly, each station and train journey leaves you with a different experience
- You are certainly not alone…there is so much to observe
- Between the hackneyed sequence of thing, you have time and some attention (beyond your phone and laptop) to spare
BAM!!! That for me sums up as: A pool of audience, under one roof, literally waiting to be entertained.
In Paris, I started talking to a fellow passenger named Clara who was generous enough to share her views me with. Very honest, she said “glad it’s Sunday today…or else I would have been wearing my earphones and reading a book”. I asked her if that’s how she prefers to be while commuting and does that allow her time to look at the company/product ads. She said, ” I look at them all the time, you can’t not look if you know what I mean. For someone like me who travels every day, I wish they would change these ads more often”.
This interaction which did not even last for more than 6 minutes because I had to get down, left me with statement that was deep – You cannot NOT see them! That is so true…it is everywhere, it is bold, it is funny, it is asking questions and it is provoking you to act. It is solving your problems, it is giving you a better price, it is sharing your concern and it is all true!
In London, I bugged another co-passenger named Sashi (yes, I am like that stranger who talks…a lot J) but he was also quite generous in sharing his views. “taking the tube is like a ritual for me”, he said. “when you spend so much time commuting, you get attached even without realizing. Be it the people, the newspapers, the hoardings…the whole atmosphere actually. I once booked a holiday trip after looking at an ad, you can say it was a compelling ad”.
So here are my thoughts…
- Outdoor branding in stations has evolved from being ‘stuck in a place’ to being ‘travel companions’. The language, visuals and overall feel of the ads have embraced the different components of a commuter’s life.
- It is much more than awareness and visibility now! Station ads can easily become a dinner table conversation topic for a family which for me is important engagement.
- There is space for everyone here. Your brand can shine beside another because you relate as you are. Surely brands are becoming more creative in indulging with the commuters but everyone has their space that fills a void for someone if not all.
- It’s upbeat and it’s digital. One is looking forward to the next thing that will be on the screen and enlighten them. For creative agencies it is like a blank canvas to make something that no one has ever seen before.
- As a brand you will disappoint and also be disappointed if you miss the gala. Maybe there is a pair of eyes staring in the blank and you could have been there.