Topps goes under after passenger complaints

The company which introduced TV advertising to buses has folded two years after its launch, following passenger complaints about intrusive noise.

The Original Passenger Picture Show (Topps) installed TV screens in over 2,000 buses in the Midlands, the North-west and Wales, Yorkshire, the North-east, and the Home Counties.

It offered a captive audience the chance to watch a range of programmes interspersed with advertisements from companies which included Specsavers, Cadbury, St Ivel, Kwik Save, Colgate and Asda.

Topps claimed it could reach bored passengers, many of whom would be en route to the point of purchase, with coverage linked to TV regions and accurate audience data provided by electronic bus ticketing.

A spokesman for the Cowie Group, which acquired Topps when it took over British Bus last year, says: “Market research indicated Topps would be a storming success but passengers did not welcome a TV screen buzzing away in the corner of the bus.

“It was taken out of buses all over the country because passengers were irritated by the noise.”

He refused to comment on industry speculation that Topps was losing 40,000 a month or that British Bus, which had a 45 per cent share in the operation, was forced to write off a 5m investment.

He says the medium also suffered technical difficulties and failed to build on initial advertiser interest.

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