I'm sure you have seen your fair share of ads rolling in front of you, whether those ads are wrapped on a bus, on a taxi, on a car, on a train, and yes, sometimes on an airplane. These advertising works best for companies that have decent budget and a broad customer base.

In this feature, we will focus on Outdoor Transit Advertising, as opposed to the traditional forms of outdoor media such as billboards, flyers, lamp post banners, etc.

Starting an outdoor transit ad campaign takes a lot of strategic planning, creativity, and paperwork. You would think that it's as simple as pasting an image onto a vehicle. No. It takes a lot of nifty details to make the whole outdoor transit ad campaign work.

What's a distinct advantage of transit ads as opposed to stationary outdoor ads? Two things: Cost and Exposure. Billboards cost greatly these days, and savvy outdoor ads businessmen treat it as a piece of valuable real estate provided it's located in high traffic areas. Transit ads cost much cheaper in this regard and transit ads offers you multiple hits all at the same time if you have a fleet of transit ads scattered across the routes in your area. That's minimal cost, maximum exposure, since people drive by the billboards, and transit ads move through your target market.

Let's get started:

Things You Will Need

1). Determine how much exposure you need - are you going to only use buses? Or are you gonna use other vehicle media such as cabs or vans and all that. If you're going to use buses you'll be able to hit the mainstream markets such as along the highways. If you're going to use cabs as your outdoor ad media, cabs allow you to hit areas where there's no mainstream outdoor ad penetration such as the suburbs.

2.) Plan your routes - contact the transit company and ask if it's possible for your bus to run on your specified routes. It will increase your chances on hitting your target market. Example: In my previous experience in the outdoor ad industry, we used a bus ad for a mobile phone that is colorful, easy to use and budget-friendly to reach our target market in a university area.

3.) Design matters - I've seen a lot of "bus wraps" whose design leaves a lot to be desired. The designers try to cram up all these words which simply doesn't mean anything especially if the ad is "on-the-go". Total recall is what you're aiming for, and to do that you have to have a design which features contrasting colors. Your copy should be limited to 8-10 words only (sometimes as low as 3-5, depending on the copy). Using big and humongous pictures will really extremely help your campaign. Statistics show that the human mind only has 7 seconds worth of ad recall. Make your ad count!

When you're doing the ad layout in Illustrator or Photoshop, make sure you are saving it in 300 dpi as it will give the printers room to blow up the images to the size recommended for large formats such as using it as a "bus wrap".

Plan the layout carefully. If you're going to use a bus ad, make sure you determine your exposure if it's on the driver side, passenger side, rear side, or simply, "wrap" the whole vehicle. If your target market is the riding public and not carowners, you can go ahead and have just one ad installed on the passenger side of the vehicle. Targetting car drivers? Put your ad on the rear side of the bus with a big image of your product and your 8-10 word copy.

4.) Quality materials are important - Some industry insiders claim that the material used for ad campaigns is important. Nein. The material used is as important as the design itself. Never use cheap vinyl stickers. Use stickers that can stand the elements. Laminating the stickers used in "bus wraps" could also be beneficial, but also costs a lot. Choose a sticker which are durable, high-quality, and easily removable, so as to avoid destroying the vehicle's "skin". Personally, we use MacTac, Ritrama and 3M.

You need to have "bus wrap" technicians who are trained to install and remove vinyl stickers from the vehicle.

5.) Monitoring your campaign - they say that the sale doesn't end on the sale itself. You've got to constantly monitor the look and the exposure of your transit ad campaign. You have to consistently check the material if it's worn out or check for any discoloration because the last thing a client needs to know is how their model has a slashed-off teeth or a vandalized eyelid or what-not.

When starting your transit ads, make sure you haggle for the best routes with the transit companies that you will be working with. Also, find out the schedule of their routes. A risk involved is when a bus that has your ad on it figures in an accident. Get some assurance from the transit company that their buses (and your ads) will be taken care of.

Tips & Warnings

Be sure to get your ads approved by a local government agency before you proceed with your ad campaign. We understand that this is a free world, but let's be responsible about the message that we are trying to communicate. Peace.