Imminent Blog

City Rail + Two Men and a Truck: epic fail, or not?

Natasha Galea - Friday, March 16, 2012

An admission up front: this post may make it obvious I am a design snob, but will hopefully also demonstrate there are good reasons for being so. I traveled to a client event last week by train, and was confronted/ transfixed by this large-scale advertisement at a Sydney Town Hall Station train platform... 

Five seconds of research on the CityRail site: tells me I was looking at a "Cross-track poster". They "deliver deeper audience connections due to long platform dwell times, allowing for more detailed creative executions with a greater use of copy. Research by APN Outdoor has found that train commuters actively view cross-track advertisements for 21% of their time on station platforms. Given that the average time spent on station platforms is around 12 minutes per day, cross-track advertisements can contribute to a large amount of exposure for your brand."

This all sound awesome in principle, but depends very much on the quality of the creative and the copy. Some advertisers have great fun with this format, writing "long-copy ads" that read like short stories, drawing you in and involving you, to make the most of their captive audience.

Not these guys. 

Shall we "unpack" what I saw? A truck on a crazy, not-of-this-world angle, some truly average to awful typography, and a logo that looks as though it has had a truck driven through it. OK the message is simple – but it's also totally uninspiring and gives no hint of what the "quality of experience" they are offering may be. Let's face it – moving is stressful, and anything to allay fears of stuff-ups or damage would really compel me to call. This message makes me want to yawn. Actually, the "call to action" is to simply call them. The free offer doesn't even get a star-burst to add excitement, just a plain-jane yellow ellipse. To be brutally honest, if any design student submitted this as a project, it would simply would not pass.

Their website does a much better job of offering an idea of what their offering is

Someone was paid to produce this ad, and Two Men and a Truck paid for this advertising space. What a lost opportunity to build a brand, at a cost ... but then again, they got some air time here, didn't they?
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