Your client wrapping a double-decker bus
These eye-catching vehicles cruise through tourist areas
May 20, 2013
Double-decker buses are something out of the ordinary, and so they always draw pedestrians’ attention. Wrapping these buses with ads is a good way to draw attention for out-of-home advertisers.
Most double-deckers are used to cart tourists to the most popular neighborhoods in a city, and advertisers know they will get lots of impressions in these high-traffic areas.
Plus, many of these neighborhoods have restrictions on large-format out-of-home advertising, helping the huge ads on double-decker buses stand out even more.
To find out how to get your client on double-decker buses, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising on double-decker buses.
Most markets have companies that run double-decker tour bus services, and those vendors typically handle advertising themselves. Some also outsource sales to national firms, which can help advertisers with campaigns in multiple markets.
How it works
Double-decker tour buses don’t run the same routes as traditional bus lines. They carry tourists to a city’s most popular areas, such as South Beach in Miami, Times Square and Central Park in New York, or Hollywood and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.
Fully wrapped double-decker buses make for ads nearly as large as traditional billboards. Sizes range from 10 by 38 feet to 11 by 44 feet, just slightly smaller than a 12 by 48 foot billboard.
Advertisers can really get creative. A recent double-decker bus ad from the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s made it look as though the bus was upside down, while Sprint made a bus’s wheels look as if they were the wheels of a NASCAR racecar.
In addition to tours, double-decker buses can be rented and used as a centerpiece element of an alternative media stunt. For example, a bus might park outside a sporting event or some other high-traffic location while street teams interact with passersby.
Double-decker tour buses are available in most major markets.
Numbers vary by market.
In Las Vegas, a wrapped double-decker bus gets an estimated 15.9 million impressions (pedestrian and vehicle traffic) per month, according to Vector Media, a transit and out-of-home vendor serving Las Vegas and other markets.
Vector says more than 13 million people see a wrapped double-decker in New York City over the course of four weeks.
The number is slightly lower in Los Angeles and Chicago and about half in smaller markets such as San Diego.
How it is measured
This summer the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement will roll out ratings data for transit media (including double-decker buses) in 11 markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D.C.
What product categories work well
Recent or current double-decker bus advertisers include soft drinks, telecom, retail, consumer packaged goods, beer, liquor and entertainment.
Demographics vary by market. Since the buses travel to the major neighborhoods in each market, they’re viewed by a wide range of demographics.
Making the buy
Ads on double-decker buses are bought and sold much like traditional billboards. Typical lead time is at least 10 days and ads are sold in four-week increments.
Pricing is comparable to that of billboards, which varies by individual market.
Who’s already used double-decker buses
Current or recent brands that have advertised on double-decker buses include Ben & Jerry’s, Corona, Sprint, Sierra Mist, Coca-Cola, Virgin Mobile, Victoria’s Secret, Vitamin Water, Coors Light and Bacardi.
What they’re saying
“The great thing about the double-deckers is where they stop and go in each market. So it could be Union Square in San Francisco, The Loop and Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Times Square and Soho in New York, South Beach in Miami–not only do they go there, but often they’re the only large-form ad you can buy there.” — Jesse Kristal, account executive at Vector Media
Web site info
Pittsburgh Tour Company
Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
Big Red Bus Company
British Bus Company
San Francisco Double Deckers
Real London Bus
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