Underground Moving Pictures in Subway Tunnels

Underground advertising captures captive audience

Big Picture

The Submedia outdoor-advertising company in Manhattan specializes in subway-tunnel advertising systems. One of its newest offerings is a series of lightboxes designed to hold sequences of images and create the illusion of an animated commercial every time the subway train moves passengers past the displays at a speed greater than 5 mph. When images are placed in two hundred 3- x 3-ft lightboxes side-by-side between stations, advertisers can produce a 15- to 30-second commercial that piques the interest of bored commuters.

Submedia's first installation was in Atlanta in 2001. Working with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Submedia showcased Coca-Cola's Dasani bottled water-branding campaign in a 1000-ft long display that generated a 20-second animation.

SideTrack Technologies is another company showcasing an in-tunnel subway advertising system. Instead of using lightboxes, SideTrack mounts lights over metal frames mounted on the tunnel wall. The frames run the length of the advertisement, enclosing several hundred digitally printed images running side by side for a 15-second promotion. SideTrack chose the 1.8- x 2.2-ft size frames because they mimicked the aspect ratio for television, making it more cost effective for the company's clients to adapt their existing TV spots. "This way we can use already existing film content in our displays," says Rob Walker, company co-founder. SideTrack's first installation was in Malaysia's PUTRA (Projek Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik Sdn Bhd) in Kuala Lampur. (Submedia: www.sub-media.com; Sidetrack Technologies: 877-258-3988, www.sidetracktechnologies.com)

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