Sprite wows with in-tunnel advertising in Sprite Xpress campaign

By Rohit Nautiyal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News | February 23, 2009
The soft drink brand has taken up in-tunnel advertising in one of the sections of the Delhi Metro

In September 2008, afaqs! reported on Coca-Cola's innovative outdoor campaign for the launch of Sprite Xpress - a new pack variant of its clear drink, Sprite. This time, the beverage giant has used transit advertising to give a push to the on-the-go beverage culture that it established with the launch campaign.

As part of the outdoor campaign, the tunnel of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) from Kashmere Gate to Chandni Chowk has been used for executing a transit innovation.

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Specially designed display boxes, which house images of a Sprite campaign, frame-by-frame, have been placed one after the other on the wall of the tunnel. The images are known as ad cards, which are film negatives coated with silver halide. As a train enters the tunnel, the ad cards provide passengers with the experience of watching a television commercial, whose picture quality is bright and undistorted.

The advertising displays in tunnels are a series of static images that appear to move as a train rolls by. Passengers looking out of the windows get to see what seems like a silent movie clip.

As the train enters the tunnel, the box senses the speed, acceleration and de-acceleration of the train. Microprocessors control the illumination of each box on which the ad is mounted and it is lit for a fraction of a second as the train zips by. The boxes are lit exactly when a passenger window is perfectly aligned to it. The display design varies with each tunnel, based on factors like distance from the window, train speed and average viewing distance.

This in-tunnel technology is used essentially for playing television commercials and has been used internationally by brands like Cadillac and Gatorade.

For Sprite Xpress, the technology was modified by EncycloMedia Networks. Mukesh Manik, man-in-charge, Encyclomedia Networks says, "While usually it is TVCs that are rendered to such in-tunnel advertising, we created an animation film for Sprite, especially for this medium."

The company has designed and rendered a 15-second animation for Sprite Xpress. This animation has the new and improved 350 ml bottle engaging in all sorts of outdoor sports, to convey the message that the new pack is for the on-the-move consumer.

The animation was split into 280 frames, which were then used for the innovation. Thus, when the train passed through the tunnel, the passengers could see a short animation film on the walls of the tunnel, which had the new Sprite Xpress bottle skateboarding, surfing and breaking through glass panels.

While the creative communication of the campaign has been handled by EncycloMedia Networks, the media and technology has been provided by C2E Technology Labs. The campaign was kicked off in mid- January and will run up to the first week of March.

A Rabindranath, chief executive officer, C2E Technology Labs says, "We partnered with DMRC four years ago to develop in-tunnel advertising. Kotak was our first client, who came onboard in March 2008. The company used the media for close to four months."

He points out that one of the best aspects of using this media is the accountability it ensures. On an average day, more than six lakh commuters pass the section from Kashmere Gate to Chandni Chowk. He confesses that though the media requires large investments, it is an option that ensures eyeballs, because it catches a bored passenger's attention instantaneously.

Srinivasan Murthy, general manager, marketing (Flavour Brands), Coca Cola says, "Outdoor media has worked well for our brand due to two main reasons. One is that the media can be customised for different markets we are present in. Second, it works as a perfect reminder medium for the soft drink category. It was a conscious decision to use outdoor innovatively right from the first Sprite Xpress campaign. In-tunnel advertising is an extension of that decision."

The monthly rental for this media is steep, at approximately Rs 2,500,000. Additionally, the advertiser has to bear the cost of the ad cards too. Interestingly, Coca-Cola has also used in-tunnel advertising in the US. This OOH format is also widely used in Paris, Moscow, Barcelona, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur.

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