Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ad Revenue Opportunities

So the city is looking for new streams of advertising revenue, and has posted tender to get the ball rolling. I think the focus of the so-called "new" revenue streams is mobile devices, which seems logical as the company is set to release GPS data to these devices very shortly. I would love to see mobile devices be rolled into fare payment too, but as the company is only getting set to enter the late 2007's, it would be crazy to make such a leap so quickly.

So where else could the company stream ad revenues from? Are there existing areas on buses to post ads? You bet.  We all remember the whole "There Probably Is No God" campaign a few years back. What people don't realize in these kinds of uproars is that the ads themselves provide free advertising for OC Transpo as well as the client company. To really get people's attention these days, you need to be creative. You also need to be prepared to take risks. If city council disapproves, that's a good start to increasing your revenues. The niche of bland advertising is well covered by newspapers and google adwords. City transit should be open to taking risks because of their superior visibility, their exposure to such a large and captive audience (who don't want to make eye contact with each other), and their wide demographics. Yet, we're stuck with cheap boring ads on buses in Ottawa. Where is the vision? We need to look for opportunities to offer something no other ad stream can offer to clients. We have a unique canvas. Buses could be a marketing destination, something to be talked about. But it isn't, and that's a shame.

Having a look at a few of the clever ads I've posted here should be an eye opener. Look at what we can do with a simple sight gag, or a clever wording. A small TV screen could advertise any array of ads designed for certain parts of the city, local businesses, or nationwide ads. The announcement system itself could be a revenue stream, announcing specific businesses along a route instead of simple street intersections.

I can already hear Clive's son proudly announcing that "This bus has been lowered for you by WalMart, home of the low prices!", and that "The ramp has been set out by Extenze, home of the longer..." errr, well, maybe not that last part. (I used to love those Smiling Bob commercials.)

It's time to look a little deeper than simple mobile apps, because that's what everyone else is doing.


  1. They had tv screens advertising stuff on public transit in "Total Recall". :)

    I wonder if WalMart paid OCTranspo to name that stop on Baseline, the WalMart stop? Usually stops are named for cross streets but this one is different. That's one source of revenue.

    1. Jim Keay Ford is another stop named after a business. I'd even wear an ad-based hat!