TfL steps up efforts to woo brands for tube station experiential push

Transport for London (TfL) is stepping up its recruitment drive for advertisers willing to invest in innovative experiential campaigns across the tube network in an attempt to capitalise on rising ad spend.

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Colgate-Palmolive is one of a growing number of brands launching more experiential campaigns on the London Underground.

The London Underground has launched a tender process for two-year experiential marketing contracts at more than 58 stations including Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Angel from 2014. It is an extension of a recently ended similar initiative, however, transport chiefs claim they will work closer with advertisers to ensure campaigns have a “fresher”, more “interesting” feel to attract commuters.

It is hoped the push brings more diversity to campaigns on the Underground with upcoming efforts spanning sampling events, exhibitions and pop-up stalls. Previous experiential promotions have been focused at the bigger stations, but TfL wants the push to position the broader tube network as one of “the best places for experiential”.

John Pizzamiglin, lead for advertising strategy at TFL, says the renewed push for experiential investment stems from the advertising industry becoming more “sprightly” over the last 12 months, a trend that has led to brands such as Colgate-Palmolive spending more on tactical campaigns at stations.

He adds: “Generally speaking people don’t think the London Underground is the best place for experiential advertising; we don’t have the same stylish and open concourses that you’d get at a Westfield or across Network Rail station.”

Pizzamiglin dismissed the suggestion that commuters may find the increased brand presence on the network jarring, claiming it would find the “right locations at the right time” to get brands in front of them.

He adds: “[Experiential advertising] is never going to be a major part of our commercial offering, but we’re taking a fresher approach that will allow us to take advantage of new locations in slightly less urban areas like Wood Green and Kentish Town”.

The move is part of wider shift over the last two years that has seen tube bosses reassess how they can generate more from their ad inventory.

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