By Adrienne Tallacksen
A few weeks ago I was coming out of the subway station at Grand Central and noticed that the turnstiles looked different than usual. On second glance, I saw that the turnstile bars were wrapped with ads for an unnamed airline. As far as I could tell, there weren’t other ads for this airline in the subway station. Granted, I didn’t go running around the subway station looking for more ads (who has time for that during her morning commute?), but it appeared that the advertising was limited to the turnstile bars. I may not even have remembered the campaign, except that later in the week as I walked through a different part of Grand Central, I saw ads for the same airline on the walls. Were these two campaigns related? Maybe, but I’m not sure.
Another more effective example of out of home advertising in New York’s subway stations comes from UPS. Senior VP and Creative Director Andy Azula discussed the campaign at this year’s TV & Everything Video Forum. In this case, UPS wrapped underground subway pillars to look like whiteboard markers and used nearly-blank white wall ads that resembled whiteboards. Consumers could see how the wall ads and the ads on the pillar were connected. This was an engaging and interesting campaign.
I still wonder if the two ads for the airline were connected or not. If the turnstile bar wrappers were only one piece of a campaign, where was the rest of the campaign that I missed? Was the campaign really spread throughout Grand Central? Or were the turnstile bar wrappers the entire campaign? If so, it wasn’t entirely effective. While the wrapped turnstile bars caught my attention, more than anything, I was puzzled by them and certainly wasn’t moved to do business with the company. I think this was a lost opportunity for the airline to create an exciting out-of-home campaign. Instead of being engaged, I was just confused.