Rajdhani trains have become moving billboards

Out-of-home advertising in India is no longer confined to hoardings and billboards at strategic locations. The country’s super fast Rajdhani trains have become moving billboards with technology making the wrap concept a major hit. One such example is that of the OOH initiative undertaken by Peacock Media to promote Kerala tourism.

Peacock Media specialises in displaying digital advertising platforms in public transportation vehicles such as long-distance buses and trains in India. The OOH firm has already wrapped a few other Rajdhani trains with advertising commercials of brands like Airtel and Max New York Life Insurance and has existing deals going on with Mindshare for HUL’s Domex and Lifebuoy-branded toilets, wash basins, consumables and audio spots running on trains.

Commenting on the wrapping of the Delhi-Trivandrum Rajdhani Express, Sandeep Chawla, Director, Peacock Media, said, “The train’s 17 coaches depict 17 places of tourist attraction in Kerala. As the train moves through 6-7 states, it will be advertising Kerala’s tourist spots among millions of potential domestic tourists.”

The Delhi-Trivandrum Rajdhani Express is claimed to be the first train with 17 different creatives used for the 17 coaches.

Peacock Media has a five-year contract with the Indian Railways, which also includes improving services inside the train. “In terms of maintenance, we have a full-fledged professional facility management and house-keeping agency, which maintains the train throughout the journey time with on-board house keeping services,” Chawla added.

The train, which sports the tag line, ‘Chalo Kerala’ in Hindi and ‘Go Kerala’ in English, journeys through the heart of India. This campaign is for a period of six months till June 2010. The traveling showcase is expected to reach out to more than 3 crore people across 10 states, including Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka as well as Kerala. OOH advertising on long-distance trains is highly effective as each train is visible to nearly 60,000 people on every platform it crosses every day, most of which are unique audience. Also, such advertising builds responsible brand image as the services offered are seen as the brands’ CSR initiative. Such advertising also has extremely long attention span, say 16-36 hours in the case of Rajdhani trains.

The experiment has been successfully executed abroad. The Gatwick Express, which is a non-stop rail link between Gatwick Airport and central London, provides the same OOH advertising option with the advertisement pasted across the train’s exterior. Amtrak, the US’ financially struggling railroad, also turned its premium Boston-Washington service into a moving billboard.

However, for India, it is somewhat a new experience. “It is a new medium and the market has to accept the same, which in turn will decide the potential revenue for the medium,” Chawla pointed out. In this modern era of digital printing, fleet graphics, the wrap-around concept has added a new dimension to advertising opportunities. However, the biggest challenge for the successful execution of such projects is to have vinyl prints that would last long and withstand all kinds of weather conditions, let alone acts of vandalism.