Discover TfL’s new advertising asset

Monday, June 06, 2022 8:00 a.m.

When the Elizabeth Line opened last month, the excitement across the city was palpable. From transport enthusiasts to keen commuters, the new line has breathed new life into the London Underground.

Along with its swanky new look and connections, the purple line has also swapped its torn plastered posters for shiny new digital display screens, which span the connection platforms and escalator steps.

Speaking to City AM, Transport for London (TfL) commercial media manager Chris Reader said the Elizabeth line presented a “unique opportunity” for advertisers, calling the spaces “bigger, brighter and bolder”. The £19billion line, which runs from Reading to Heathrow and Abbey Wood to Shenfield, currently offers around 329 advertising opportunities.

Indeed, the main difference between the Elizabeth line and its older, less glamorous cousins ​​is that it has been specially integrated into its architecture; ” they are [ads] designed to be there,” Reader said.

With Google and Schweppes as some of the early adopters, TfL’s main advertising partner Global estimates there will be 3.44 million trips a week once the line is fully integrated in the fall, with around 170 million passengers per year by 2026 for London’s youngest Underground. line.

This is great news for TfL, which continues to struggle with its own funding crisis, with the government’s fourth £200m bailout set to expire at the end of this month.

Not only have these emergency funds forced TfL to commit to “financial sustainability”, but the impact of the tightening of the purse strings has already begun to sting many Londoners, with dozens of bus routes axed the last week.

For TfL, which saw its advertising revenue plunge 90% during the first period of lockdown, the Elizabeth line presents an exciting opportunity to recoup a vital revenue stream and carve out post-pandemic growth.

On top of that, the launch of a new plush line comes at a good time for the convoluted advertising landscape, where the market remains disrupted by fast food advertising bans, as well as the looming world of crypto regulation. .

While TfL has told City AM it is working with both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority to navigate these spheres, the fact is the transport giant needs to monetize the new digital opportunities presented by the Elizabeth Line. and attract luxury partners.

Director of Commercial Outdoor at Global Chris Forrester said that with successful advertising comes a better understanding of customers.

“We came out of the pandemic and called it the ‘new normal’. Now I think we’re at a point where we have to accept it as the ‘new different’,” he told City AM.

He explained that the way people use the metro is now much more varied, with more people traveling outside the regular morning and evening routes linked to a 9am-5pm work week Monday to Friday. . Ridership is now 70% of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays and over 80% on weekends.

The consequence of this shift is that advertisers need to be more innovative in how they use the platforms, focusing on “data-driven” and customer-centric approaches, Forrester explained.

This means more experimental digital campaigns, as well as tracking popular customer journeys to run “meaningful” ads across different stations for certain events.

Calling London audiences “much appreciated”, Forrester added: “London is the best opportunity in the world from a digital perspective. Very few brands ask us if London audiences are back…we can see that they is back,” he said, highlighting the millions of people who continue to use the wider tube network every day.

So while the Elizabeth line may have taken 13 years to develop, the opportunity for Londoners, brand partners and TfL may have been worth the long wait.

About Deborah Wilson

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