Advertising Transit

For a while now I’ve been of the mind that if you want something that doesn’t exist you should make it. Unfortunately, I’m not a filmmaker or an advertising guru so I can’t make ads for transit that are as sexy as car ads, something I’ve always wanted but never seen and suspected didn’t exist.

Muni Diaries apparently has the same thought, but unlike me they up and found this most awesome of ads:


Midttrafik presents … The Bus!
The bus driver is cool … “I’m cool…”
Top nice seating
Gigantic panoramic windows … with impressive scenic view
Designer bells with cool functions
Free handles
It is big… and long
It has its own lane
Yeah, it’s street … and it also runs a[t] night
“I’m still cool”
Yes, the bus is cool, so get up ealier tomorrow and get a good seat
Midttrafik … we’ll handle the driving for you.

Um, wow. I want to ride that bus.

Out of Madrid came a series of fantastic ads that, while about as on-topic as a bank advertisement, certainly do what car ads do for cars: make the product, riding a subway, just as sexy as it should be.

Inject a little wonder into your commute is the message here.

Here – make the world right again on transit.

And how do you advertise night service? Well, when Copenhagan Metro started running 24/7, they ran this bit to let the train-travelling public know:

Made me yawn.

Still, there are a few transit ads here in the US. In a conversation with @AngrySean and @mikesonn we found this low-budget but tightly done ad for Butte County Transit. Ride the B-Line:


A while ago, during the national high-speed rail debates that didn’t amount to much, some of the actors from Mad Men did a spot about rail, and it made a few rounds in the wonky and fan circles, but that is, unfortunately, about it.

The train: You wouldn’t do open-heart surgery on yourself, so why would you drive yourself?

And, finally, we have a series of ads from LA’s Go Metro campaign, which is mostly known for its outstanding print and billboard segments, but it had its TV spots, too. A few particularly surreal used interpretive dancers and a beat poet. This is my favorite:


I only found one really good ad for bicycling, the other thing we transit advocates like to advocate for, but it’s American-made and embraces the full scope of the bicycling culture, though the 20-somethings riding their city bikes on the sidewalk looks a little weird.

Any ad that makes biking as American as apple pie makes me happy.

Most of these I’d take over the squeaky SMART radio spots (Flash) I’ve heard. What’s your favorite transit ad? How would you advertise transit in Marin?

Mid-Week Links return tomorrow.

About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

2 Responses to Advertising Transit

  1. Pingback: Sexy Bus? Oh yeah | Faces of Urban Regional Planning and Design

  2. KeReTTeReK says:

    really nice pictures.
    thanks for presenting them !-)

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