14 June 2018

Nigeria: Turning Trains to Moving Billboards

With the gradual revamp of the rail transportation system in Nigeria, advertisers are beginning to see the platform as another viable way to reach their target audience. Raheem Akingbolu reports

Though with humble beginning traced to 1928, when UAC established what is today known as Lintas, to provide marketing services to the activities of the colonial masters, advertising in Nigeria has since evolved and given birth to various platforms. In the early years, the only viable platform was the outdoor, followed by print and television commercials. Few years ago, bus branding crept in and got instant acceptability. With the revolution of the digital media, the out-of-home sub sector blossomed with many agencies introducing digital platforms and LCD, which has today become a major innovative platform for brands that want to remain relevant.

However, between 2011 and 2015, the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan began to invest in rail system as a solution to perennial transportation challenges facing the country.

Also, on assumption of office, President Muhammadu Buhari, started from where his predecessor ended it and completed the first phase of the project.

Today, Abuja-Kaduna and Lagos-Ibadan have been opened up for services, while the rail system within Lagos metropolis and Lagos -Abuja-Kano routes have been rejuvenated.

Opportunities for Nigeria advertisers

With this development, Nigerian out-of-home advertising community has woken up to the need to key into the new regime and create a credible alternative to brand owners and businesses. At the moment, a Digital & Transit Media company - TranXeon, based in Lagos is in the forefront of the new advertising revolution. The agency is not only exploring the opportunities in Train Branding Advertising Services, it is also making a clarion call to business owners to embrace the platform.

In an interview with THISDAY, the Chief Operations Officer at TranXeon, Ayo Egunjobi, called on advertisers to take a cue from what is obtainable in India, Britain and other advanced countries where Metro Train Advertising Service has become a platform to beat. Among other services, he said his company offers exterior branding services, mobile vans advertisement services, metro Train Advertising service and much more.

"Train station advertising opportunities exist across many stations across the world. Due to the incredibly high dwell time, rail advertising delivers high engagement, and high impact advertising to a more receptive a captive commuter audience.

"From complete station domination, through to the rail platform advertising, train internals and train externals, whether is it static or digital billboard advertising rail offers excellent advertising Return on Investment," he said.

Speaking further, he explained that complete train wraps are a brand-new offering that would soon be introduced by the company as it allows advertisers to connect with a huge audience of work, school and recreational commuters.

"Exterior advertising formats help brands break through the bustling platform crowds. For instance, train is the most important transport in India and the world.

"In Nigeria, we position our company to be instrumental in offering Railway Advertising that are high communicating and engulfs a large audience. We provide creative ideas and concepts, which communicates different sections of people in the society."

The offering

According to Egunjobi, the company has begun Train and Coach domination on the Nigeria Railway Corporation Lines on Lagos and Abuja route.

He said: "In Lagos, train moves from Ijoko-Itoki-AgbadoIju-Agege-Ikeja-Shogunle-Oshodi-MushinYaba-Ebute Metta-Iddo-Apapa.

"Within the hours that the train functioned, not less than 300,000 commuters viewed the adverts as the train route is just beside the Oshodi- Abeokuta expressway and some parts of Ikorodu road."

Speaking further, he pointed out that rail lines in Lagos is used by 22,000 commuters daily; and the intension is to park the train at either Oshodi or Ikeja stations at least once a week, adding that Oshodi boasts of one million commuters passing through daily, while Ikeja boasts of not less than 500,000 commuters daily.

Point of Sale Activation

He also stated that where the trains are parked on the stations, there is the opportunity to do a product activation, engagement, familiarisation and interaction with commuters.

In his opinion, such a campaign can be backed with a free BP checkup which can be covered by the print and audio visual press to give more credence to the Neimeth brand.

In addition to the domination of the train, he explained that product jingles will be played through the journey on the trains thereby endearing the commuters to the brands.

Egunjobi also stated that the external display area carrying the adverts is 55m2 (22m X 2.5m) on each side; which brings it to a total of 110m2.

"The size of the display area can be compared to that of a standard 120m2 Unipole. The bold nature of the full branding will not go unnoticed and this in its self is a lot of value for the brand. "It will interest Nigerians to learn that commuters, who are avoiding the Abuja-Kaduna road and have now opted for the trains due to the increased insecurity (kidnapping & robbery) along the road.

"As I speak, ministers, senators, and the general public now prefer to use the trains. There are now 2 Trains (with a total of 11 Coaches) that make 4 trips each, daily from Abuja-Kaduna.

Eye on Advert

Meanwhile, the advertising practitioner has claimed that on daily basis, not less than 7,744 commuters use the rails and a total of about 50,000 commuters use the lines weekly. He further disclosed that as the train traverses through Abuja, some parts of Niger State and Kaduna, it is estimated that not less than another 100, 00 onlookers view the trains daily.

"It is also worthy of note that the number of commuters using the trains have tripled between November 2017 and February 2018. This is one of the fastest growing transport mediums in the country today."

Point of Sale Engagement

Another opportunity he identified was that the intercity trip takes approximately 2.5hrs and as such the seating arrangement is like that of an air plane.

During the trip, he added that commuters have the opportunity to be well educated and engaged about the brands they will want to expose to and immediate feedback can be collated to improve on the brands where necessary.

"On these trains, in addition to the walls and partitioning being branded, the seat covers are also to be branded thereby increasing brands' exposure. In addition to the domination of the train, product jingles will be played through the journey on the trains endearing the commuters to the brands. The external display area carrying the adverts is 55m2 (22m X 2.5m) on each side; which brings it to a total of 110m2. The size of the display area by all means can be compared to that of a standard 120m2 Unipole. The bold nature of the full branding will not go unnoticed and this in its self is a lot of Value for the brand," he added.

With this development, Egunjobi believes that Nigerian business community will find the platform endearing and enable them to further position their businesses.

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