Bus Stops are one of the few ad mediums where the audience is passive, as opposed to TV, billboards, etc where the audience is usually actively engaged in some other pastime which advertisers are forced to coax them away from.
At least this used to be the case. Now, with mobiles in everybody's hands, the medium simply doesn’t have the ‘look at me, because there is nothing else to do’ value it used to. Therefore advertisers have to step up their in-situ ads by offering additional value. We recently saw a key example of this from Absolut, which took over entire bus stops – offering them up as a luxury respite – in order to make sure it got noticed.
A new partnership between Yahoo and the Municipal Transportation Agency in San Francisco is taking a different approach by forcing weary travellers up out of their seats in order to play a series of social games built directly into the ads.
The games, ranging from simple visual puzzles to sports trivia competitions, are on offer at various bus stops in the local vicinity. Travellers select which one of 20 neighbourhoods they want to represent and then challenge people at other locations to a live competition, with each win netting that neighbourhood 100 points. The neighbourhood with the most points will get to party with viral video entrepreneurs Ok Go at a live concert in their area.
It’s a clever premise, which works not just because it offers a bit of social gaming during down time, but also because it draws upon communities, enabling participants to work collectively to a common goal.