When you look around Melbourne you will see our trains, trams and buses are all plastered in internal and external advertising for all kinds of products and services. Usually the campaigns are the same ones you see on TV, in newspapers and on billboards, but sometimes you find a smart advertising company that is able to tweak their message to suit the medium it appears on. Of course, this sometimes backfires…
First off, we have a bus billboard panel promoting NAB’s “honest” credit cards: the message on the side says “An honest credit card wouldn’t buy a concession ticket with a student card from 2002“. Fare evasion has been a big issue in Melbourne for years, and this advertisement piggybacks off the issue in a positive way.
My second example of an advertising message being tailored for the medium is this campaign by Garnier Men’s skin care products, which appears inside trams. Like NAB the advertising agency behind it has taken a playful approach, telling consumers to don’t sweat the small stuff when they encounter one of the small pitfalls encountered in their day to day lives. Unlike NAB, this particular ad condones fare evasion, using the message “5 cents short on your fare: don’t sweat the small stuff“. Somewhat coincidentally there is a Metlink sticker on the window below, with the anti-fare evasion message “No change is no excuse“.
I’ve since been told second hand that the photo above did the rounds of the Metlink offices, resulting in a three way bunfight between Yarra Trams, Metlink and Garnier as to the appropriateness of this onboard advertising campaign. I wonder if Metlink will send NAB and their advertising agency a muffin basket for their more positive message?
This isn’t the first example of badly placed adverts on public transport: at Flinders Street Station there have been car advertisements telling train passengers “Always get a seat”, and in The Age advertisements for new train timetables have appeared on the same page of an article detailing who loses out in the said changes.