Taking a leaf from Western Railways, which has been experimenting on selling ad space on the train exteriors, more so local trains in Mumbai, the Northern Railways has introduced advertising options of branding the complete bogie from outside.
Right now only a few bogies on two trains crisscrossing rural Rajasthan and Haryana are available.
The question then arises if the dwellers of these rural areas have pockets deep enough for the advertisers to be interested, and which product categories should look at this option. Says Atul Rai, COO, Ads Advertising, which has a keen interest in rural and innovative outdoor advertising , "In today's world, with all the TV channels reaching all parts of the country nothing is rural and urban. People watch FTV more than Aaj Tak, and that is one reason advertisers are shifting focus. This is also one medium, and it is available and all categories like FMCGs, white goods and everything else in the old economy can advertise on this".
Amit Ray, Vice President, OMS, Mudra communications also feels that it can prove to be an effective medium for low-ticket items. Says he, "It might prove to be a good option for FMCGs and low value electronic products like black and white television sets."
Would putting the ads on the long distance trains be a value for money proposition. Will the reach and frequency justify the monies spent? Replies Rai, "It is a very cost effective media as compared to the so called OTS.
Another point to ponder is that in Mumbai, local trains pass through various areas many times in a day, hence opportunity to see (OTS) is very high. It would not be the case with the outstation trains, as the trains would cross a given area only once in a day. What, then, would the advertisers gain by advertising on them? Replies Rai, "On these routes maximum journey is covered during day time giving maximum contact with daily commuters. We always compare media with what is available in Metros. People living in metros have much less time and hence half the time things go unnoticed. While in smaller cities, this is not the case, and we get good response from new innovative outdoor media options."
Media fraternity feels that as the cost of advertising on these trains is on the lower side, it might lead to advertisers trying it out. However, whether experimentation would lead to the medium being looked at seriously would depend on the initial response. Says Ray, "The rates are low, and using these mediums would not require a very high spend. Hence, advertisers might try it out. However, response the initial advertisers get would be critical for a larger number of advertisers to consider it."