Recently when riding the metro with nothing to read, I noticed two particular advertisements that peaked my interest and specific needs I had at the time. Bose was advertising their newest set of in-ear headphones, which grabbed my attention since my current headphones are wearing down, and a McCafe advertisement sounded good on the cold winter day. However, the two advertisements did not mention where I could pick up the new headphones and warm coffee, as seen in examples below (courtesy CBS Outdoor).
Even though there are roughly 100 McDonalds locations in the DC metro area and Bose’s website is listed on the ad, it would be beneficial for these companies to add locations to the creative. A simple “One block from Rosslyn station” or “Sold at L’Enfant Plaza” could prevent me from going to Starbucks instead and would drive up sales. These ads are available to target locally by metro line and station, and are common on the metro already with local ad campaigns such as new jet fighters near the Pentagon station, and health care reform near the Capitol South station. Bose and McDonald’s could coordinate with local branches/retailers to target their customers, which is common with auto dealerships on print and TV. Bose and McDonalds could take its cue from Home Depot and Fuddruckers, which already have ads that mention locations as seen in the examples below from other subway systems:
While these large corporations with enormous marketing campaigns might not bother with this level of targeting, there is unlimited potential for creative metro advertising for local businesses. Companies with one location only need to advertise near their closest station or mention the one address on all their creative. Meanwhile mid level local advertisers with multiple locations can utilize the different lines to better target their customers with some creativity. Here are some examples:
- “Boss make you angry over the TPS reports today? Take it out tonight at a LA Boxing Gym next to the Braddock Road and Foggy Bottom stations on the blue line.”
- “Long winter expected? Don’t get caught in the cold without a new winter coat from Burlington Coat Factory. Available at the Silver Spring and Greenbelt stations.”
- “Just finish your book? Check out the new Tom Clancy bestseller at the following Barnes and Nobles locations on the red line, Bethesda, Dupont Circle, Metro Center, and Union Station.”
- This targeting even applies to political advertising as well. “Bob Smith voted against the Purple line last session. Vote for Mike Jones in November to shorten your commute.”
The cost for this type of campaign is reasonable as well. The monthly fee for 250 Metro ads roughly equals the same amount as 50 radio spots on the top stations, 25 cable ads on ESPN/CNN/Fox News and 20 television commercials on the local four stations. Imagine how much money Verizon would have saved on advertising when they had exclusive service rights to the Metro if they ran ads “No bars down here? Switch to Verizon today.” Maybe one day these companies will seize this opportunity to reach an audience staring at an ad for 30 minutes.