To be fair, this type of experience probably isn't that common. But it's part of what makes transport networks in the county's biggest cities a rather valuable media property (pages 10 and 11). It has to be one of the few environments where it actually benefits consumers to have lots of big, stark ads screaming out at them from across the tracks. A fact not lost on Transport for London, which just put the rent up on Viacom Outdoor from £30m a year to more like £100m a year. Not that Viacom is complaining, having got its hands on the world's largest outdoor contract in terms of revenue.
With £1.5bn coming in over the next eight-and-a-half years, there's going to be some updating of the medium, too. It looks like the occasional out-of-date half-ripped cross-track poster will become a thing of the past, with wet-posting being phased out over the next three years and 24 Underground stations getting kitted out with digital panels.
Innovation is the way to achieve standout in this environment. Giving consumers the quality of advertising they are becoming used to as technology evolves in the wider world is key (see feature on page 12 for more on that).
But even with the best ideas in the world, overcrowding, delays and other realities can take a bite out of the potential for advertisers to make an impact, as Adam Woods found out when he took a trip along one of the most popular commuter routes in the UK.
The daily grind of commuting certainly leaves some people desperate to get away from it all. But, in a way, that makes them part of a broader travelling audience. No bad thing for JCDecaux, which sweetened the pill of its defeat to Viacom on the TfL account by retaining the £500m, 11-year BAA contract.
- Kevin Johns, Supplements editor, email@example.com.