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A Virtual Walk-Through

(July 2012) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2012

Transforming a San Francisco subway tunnel into Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Mike Antoniak

Visitors to San Francisco’s busy Montgomery Street Station this spring suddenly found themselves transported to Utah’s Arches National Park, in a stunning display of digital printing’s power to transform any space into something much more.

Throughout May and June, a 103-foot tunnel in this popular stop on the city’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) was wrapped end to end and floor to ceiling with colorful images of Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch. Together, the images conveyed the sense of walking through and beneath the arch in an immersive ad designed to encourage commuters and tourists to vacation in the Beehive State.

“It’s the most unique part of our current campaign to promote tourism, and the reaction of people to it has been great,” says David Williams, deputy director of Utah’s Office of Tourism. “Hopefully it will impress them enough they will want to visit here, and our beautiful national parks.”

A cool space with a lot of traffic
The installation certainly had an impact in San Francisco, with a “wow” factor that generated a lot of buzz on social-networking sites, as well as free advertising in media coverage of the wrap “We knew if this worked it would create quite a stir,” says Jeremy Chase, account manager at Struck, Salt Lake City, the Utah Office of Tourism’s ad agency that conceived this installation.

As Chase explains, officials at the Utah Office of Tourism hoped for some extra splash for the initial foray into San Francisco as the newest market in its ongoing “Life Elevated” campaign promoting tourism. Struck has managed and implemented all phases of the campaign since its 2006 inception. This year’s effort, with a $2.2 million budget, includes a mix of print, broadcast, and outdoor advertising in major markets in the western US: Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland, and Seattle.

Plans for the San Francisco debut initially included TV commercials and online ads, plus a digital outdoor billboard on the Bay Bridge. Then, representatives of Love Communications of Salt Lake City – Struck’s working partner and media buyer for the Utah campaign – suggested Montgomery Station as a “cool space with a lot of traffic,” according to Chase.

“It’s at the entrance/exit to one of San Francisco’s larger transit stops in the financial district,” explains Marlayna Jones, production supervisor for Titan 360, the company that manages and markets advertising space for BART.