Change of the (advertising) guard at Melbourne stations

Advertising to the captive audiences at Melbourne railway stations is big business, with multinational company JCDecaux having held the station advertising contract for Metro Trains Melbourne for the past few years.

Double helping of PTV advertising for the new on-the-spot 'Penalty Fares' regime

Their staff paste up new posters when it is time to change over the advertiser.

Changing over the advertising posters at Box Hill station

As well as replacing the billboards inside motorised panels.

Changing over the advertisements at Camberwell station

And troubleshooting digital panels that display the advertisements upside down.

Digital advertising panel stuck showing everything upside down

But in December 2017 the deal came up for renewal and local firm Adshel (a division of media company Here, There & Everywhere) won the contract.

Adshel has won part of the Metro Trains Melbourne outdoor contract – which will run for seven years – and will see Adshel launch 150 digital screens across Melbourne’s CBD and inner city railway stations. Stations include Flinders Street, Melbourne Central, Parliament, South Yarra and Richmond.

By early 2018 JCDecaux billboards at stations started to empty out.

JCDecaux adverting screen minus advertisement at Collingwood station

And posters were left in tatters.

Tattered advertising posters in the Elizabeth Street subway at Flinders Street Station

‘Out of service’ tags began to appear on motorised advertising panels.

Power disconnected from a JCDecaux advertising panel at Hawksburn station

As contractors began to physically remove the advertising panels from stations.

Contractors remove the JCDecaux advertising panels at Caulfield station

Leaving just dirty marks on walls where they once hung.

Dirty mark indicates where a JCDecaux advertising panel once covered the wall at Burnley

Or witches hats where they once stood.

Witches hats at Flagstaff station mark where a JCDecaux digital billboard used to be

The exception seems to be the subways at Flinders Street Station – they were cleaner than they have ever been!

Advertising posters removed from the ramps down to the Elizabeth Street subway

However the demise of visual noise wasn’t to be – ‘bumblebee boxes’ started to appear at stations, marking the site of digital billboards for incoming operator Adshel.

'Bumblebee box' marks the site of a new Adshel digital billboard at Flagstaff station

With new screen being installed in April 2018.

New Adshel digital advertising panel on the fritz at Flagstaff station

Conveying an excitement about outdoor advertising that nobody outside the marketing industry holds.

New Adshel adverting panels installed at Flinders Street Station

While simultaneously managing to cover up directional signage at stations.

New Adshel digital advertising panels at Flagstaff station

Seeing a station without advertising just wasn’t to be.

A footnote on PTV

Over on Twitter someone pointed out the Public Transport Victoria posters at stations along the Frankston line, on panels once branded JCDecaux, but now with black tape covering the name.

PTV advertising on a JCDecaux billboard at Moorabbin station

The panels appear to have escaped the changeover to Adshel, the aging posters inside falling to pieces.

Tattered PTV advertisement inside a JCDecaux billboard at Highett station

Possibly the panels were transferred from JCDecaux to PTV at some point in the past, and are not part of the new contract?

And at Flinders Street Station

At Flinders Street Station the JCDecaux advertising panels on each platform once housed the emergency assistance buttons.

JCDecaux advertising panel marked for removal at Flinders Street Station platform 6 and 7

These panels have since been removed.

Poles mark where the JCDecaux advertising panels once stood at Flinders Street platform 4 and 5

Requiring the help points to be relocated to the pillars that support the platform veranda.

New 'emergency assistance' buttons being installed at Flinders Street platform 9

I wonder who is footing the the bill for that work?

And advertisements elsewhere

The new contract doesn’t affect all advertising on the Melbourne rail network – APN Outdoor holds a separate 10 year contract for the ‘shouting’ advertising screens at City Loop stations.

LED advertising screens also installed at Parliament station

Along with large format billboards at railway stations.

Array of advertising billboards at South Yarra station

And roadside billboards located on railway land.

EDI Comeng approaches Ginifer station on a down Watergardens service

And to make things even more complicated, Southern Cross Station is excluded from the advertising contract covering the rest of the rail network, thanks to it being separate entity subject to a 30 year long public-private partnership.

There JCDecaux still manages the advertisements, where they have just deployed a new range of digital advertising displays.

New JCDecaux LCD advertising screen at Southern Cross Station

But what about trams?

Back in 2011 a similar changeover occurred on the Melbourne tram network – Adshel won an exclusive contract to manage the advertising at tram stops, a role previously shared with JCDecaux.

However this changeover was a lot less wasteful – instead of throwing tram stops in the bin, the old ‘JCDecaux’ names was removed, and the new ‘Adshel’ placed over the top.

Adshel maintained tram shelter, previously maintained by JCDecaux

The same logo switcharoo is currently underway for a second time, following the success of JCDecaux over Adshel in the most recent round of tram advertising contract renewals in 2018.

And a final note on Flagstaff station

The Adshel screens blocking the directional signage at Flagstaff station were eventually fixed – the proper sign was moved higher up the wall, allowing the temporary paper signs to be removed.

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