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Traincards come of age

Ian Reynolds, CEO at KBH On-Train Media   |   16th May 2016

In this time-strapped, fast-paced age, very rarely do we relax and enjoy our down time. Once the go to way to treat yourself after a hard week at work, in-store browsing and shopping have become activities we scarcely have the time for. However, advanced mobile technology and an increase in the popularity of rail travel are generating a new type of shopping behaviour, delivering new opportunities for Out of Home (OOH) advertising.

Figures released earlier this year by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) showed that there were 1.65bn UK passenger journeys made in 2014/15, the largest passenger numbers on record. The train carriage provides a large and captive OOH audience hard to find anywhere else. The audience becomes even more significant when you look at its behaviour.

There has been a marked rise in consumers using laptops while travelling – 34% do this compared to 21% two years ago. Also, an increasing majority of rail passengers use their smartphone whilst on the train (90%) and of that, 62% use it for shopping, compared to 23% of adults overall.

More specifically, a 2015 study by mobile payment company Zapp discovered that one fifth of all UK online shopping now occurs on the daily commute, with most passengers specifically purchasing clothing and electronic goods.

Despite the increasing use and adoption of technology, particularly within the marketing sphere, traditional (static) OOH formats still have a key role to play.

The format of on-train ads remains unchanged, but regardless of this, it continues to evolve in use and grow in importance. A combination of factors are responsible for this, including smartphones’ ubiquity and, as a result, the on-train audience’s increasing levels of connectivity; the increase in time spent online; and consumers’ willingness to research and make purchases on their devices while out of home, supported and encouraged by the ever-improving efficiency of on-board train Wi-Fi.

As KBH Traincards ‘come of age’, turning 18 this year, they are more effective than ever. A staggering 94% of passengers notice on-train ads.

Combine that figure with the average train journey of 40 minutes and it’s clear to see that this OOH audience has the dwell time to read, absorb and then act on on-train messaging. This is a prime opportunity for brands to introduce their latest product or display a call to action via the power of classic OOH media.

Amazon Prime Video’s recent Traincard campaign is an example of the effectiveness of on-train messaging leveraging on-board on-device connectivity and rail travellers’ desire for distraction on a relatively long journey. Research into the campaign showed that 77% of respondents who recalled seeing the Amazon Prime Video Traincard on the train agreed that the advertising had made them more likely to consider using the service. Classic OOH works seamlessly in conjunction with online activities.

The behaviours and demands of audiences may have drastically changed over the 18 years since KBH Traincards were introduced, however on board messaging continues to own its space. Advertisers are wise to realise the continuing power of the industry’s most established form of advertising and the importance of ‘classic’ static OOH in today’s digital world. 

"As an industry, I believe, we have forgotten the power of repetition. Effective communication isn't small. It isn't cheap. It isn't once."
"Advertising isn’t supposed to be private. It’s supposed to be overheard, shared, stumbled across and discovered."
"And then there’s advertising’s past. The intrusive, inflexibile and mute billboards. They feel like throwbacks to the old way of doing things. A flat image with an unyielding rule that the consumer can take in no more than eight words (unless they’re Economist readers). How boring. How old school. Until you remember 2015's ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Simple, traditional and utterly un-missable pieces of art in the urban landscape."
"Out of Home is the oldest medium of all There’s still huge power in the public message – the power of the public comment. It’s a big thing – it’s why people get married in front of an audience of 150; it gives a public sense of commitment."
"We've chosen to use digital to make everything more efficient...but we've forgotten how to explore and discover. It's a loss of serendipity and we've lost a lot of the humanity. We're becoming very reliant upon digital and the internet to make us incredibly efficient and we're losing out."
"The beauty of OOH is that it can double as a TV screen, a social feed, a camera, a vending machine, a download site, or a purchase point."
"OOH is constantly evolving, and its ability to integrate so brilliantly with new technology is one of its main strengths."
"Media changes, driven by digitisation, have left consumers facing a tyranny of choice—yet OOH is a channel that can still deliver huge audiences, and can increasingly do so in creative and engaging ways."
"The Out of Home sector has been tremendously resilient throughout the recessionary years, showing consistent growth driven by its fundamental benefits. In an ever-fragmenting media landscape, you can still reach pretty much the entire population, all at the same time."
"Out of Home is booming right now: OOH is the most ubiquitous media – you can’t turn the page, change the channel or switch it off, and Out of Home continues to integrate itself brilliantly with other new and innovative technologies."
"Posters decorate the world "
"Speed of change is all around us and no more so than in the rate at which advertising investment in traditional posters is being transitioned to include a far more flexible Out of Home canvas; the digital poster."
"I love OOH because the diversity of opportunities makes it a realistic option for almost any client. Add to this the ever growing possibilities for new innovation and it’s a media channel that is truly exciting to both agencies and clients alike."
"As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea. As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online. Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination."
"By its very nature, Out of Home’s remoteness from the consumer living room, from the office, and from the home computer, has made it a natural bedfellow of mobile marketing."
"OOH inhabits a wonderful space in which we benefit from a rich heritage of memorable, iconic campaigns and a truly exciting future unfolding before us. A broadcast medium that just keeps getting better."
"DOOH is a really interesting storytelling medium, beyond advertising. It allows you to touch and feel and interact in a way no other medium does. That's the real beauty of it, and usually overlooked"
"Show me any brief, for any client and any campaign and I guarantee that OOH will be able to have a justifiable role to play as part of the media solution. That role maybe big or small; local or national, classic, digital or both, large format, small format or anything in between... but it will be justifiable and worthwhile. There isn’t any other medium that can replicate that claim, or indeed come anywhere near doing so."
"London’s very large public transport network carries a great deal of OOH advertising. As a result, London alone has 170,000 advertising sites, more than 40 per cent of the national total. This makes London the most valuable city for OOH advertising in Europe and among the most important in the world."
"Digital OOH networks are multi-sensory and with the development of touch technology things are moving fast. Stimulating the senses more creatively generates social shares, great PR and awards."
"Central London will undergo a transformation and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will get even brighter and more connected"
"It makes sense for the most welcomed and least intrusive media to deliver presence for brands interacting through the media"
"OOH remains the flexible canvas for which a guaranteed audience is never too far away"
"OOH may be the oldest medium, yet it has shown remarkable resilience in reinventing itself"
"Smarter brands are contextualising their ad messaging, reaching a target audience when it matters most and can change behaviour"
"Poster sites really are the last true broadcast medium capable of near universal reach"
"Immediacy, targeting and excitement are what DOOH can offer that other media can't - its just very very cool.The opportunities are endless"
"The combination of classic and DOOH should be an intoxicating mix for any marketing director"
"Out of Home is an accountable, measurable and effective media for advertisers"
"Reaching people in the right place, at the right time is still Out of Home’s biggest strength"
"Posters are the purest and most effective form of communication"
"I would advise marketers using OOH not to see a poster as a Wikipedia entry, think of it as a piece of art"
"OOH engages hard to reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative communications"
"Using data to plan OOH enhances campaign performance by up to 200%"
"London is the most valuable city for OOH advertising... and among the most important in the world "
"Super premium digital Out of Home is one of the quickest ways to get into the conversation and make your brand famous"
"For a brand to live, it needs to appeal not only to the people who buy it, but also to the people who know about it "
"Media isn’t about the number of impressions you make. Media is about the power of the impression you make."
"In advertising, we have the power to change minds, change beliefs and change the world"
"DOOH offers deeper engagement than other media, more of a story and feedback"