Not every day, but every once in a while, I find myself in the train on my way to work starring at a boring poster and asking myself how many people possibly already starred at that same poster the same day. Everyone heard about over-packed trains in Tokyo, but with train stations such as Shinjuku being the spot on the planet with the largest number of people per day actually rushing through, Tokyo’s train stations are a true mecca for advertisement.
Being stuck in a train for hours, what else can you do except notice that ad in front of you? You can enjoy the better ones! And that is exactly what we did!
Written by Uleshka
Here are our top 10 choises of advertisement in Tokyo’s trains or stations
1. Create your own stage
Picking a seriously busy station such as Shibuya should give you proper exposure for a start. Here, we discovered a very decorative ad by Meisei University that takes up the entire wall space in Shibuya. It functions as a pretty backdrop for everyone waiting on the platform.
2. Mega Stickers
In case all wall space is already taken, try placing your ad as a mega sticker on the ground. That adds some nice color to the gray concrete as well.
3. Take-away goodies poster campaign
We have covered the seriously impressive iPod nano campaign on PingMag a while ago. Those “goodies on posters” are always in great demand. Here is a little picture story of a recent Canon ad inside Shibuya station (between Toyoko and JR Yamanote line – a good catch), which offered small packets mounted on a poster.
worker revealing the Canon campaign at around 10.30am
Someone must have been talking… Nikon had a big and beautiful ad right next to the Canon ad
after the official press shots were taken, people were allowed to step closer – and they did!
sweet grandpa grabbing one pack of every kind – like most people
Althought the graphics were quite funky, I must confess that I was pretty disappointed by the contents of this mysterious little black pack: a small brochure about a new range of Canon cameras in an entirely un-matching design. A few more images about this ad and other “take away poster campaigns” on our Flickr page.
4. Product Sculptures
Create your own product sculpture! I had a good laugh when finding all those over-over-sized Ucon-Tea bottles in Shinjuku decorating the pillars. Those were not to be missed by anyone!
5. Use what’s left
If all places seem taken, look again!
I just noticed advertising on the ticket gates at some train stations, too. Placed right next to the slots to insert your cards, the ads for TV magazine TV Japan certainly get noticed, even though they look like they could be warning signs as a part of the ticket gates.
A very elegant and often refreshing solution is to decorate the moving handrails of escalators. Aap! offer some nice solutions for this alternative display. (Takes about 1 hour to install!)
Aap! installed an interesting handrail ad model inside Nogizaka station in Tokyo: these handrails lists all sorts of brief information about shops, restaurants and attractions around the area. People can easily scan the matching QR-code to receive more information of a certain place of interest on their mobile phone while more information slowly “drives by”.
handrails installed in Nogizaka with little info or advertising units about shops, restaurants and information about the area Photo © Aap!
scan the QR code with your phone and get map and more information about a place of interest Photo © Aap!
Train Jacking (buying the entire advertisement space inside a whole train for a certain period) or Train Wrapping (covering the entire outside of a train) are extremly popular in Tokyo. If you ever found yourself in one of these trains for a few stops only, you will know why people are willing to pay so much at once. An entire train telling you the same thing is impossible not to notice. There are a lot of funky ones around, here we show a rather minimal and “calm” train from Ikea. The first thing I noticed when stepping on board was, that the wagon felt so unusually peaceful….
it felt a bit like flipping through the Ikea cataloge, which – I suppose – was their intention
other wagons had colorful Ikea patterns
8. It’s real!
Since everyone spends so much time in trains, little surprises are always welcome! Adding some “real-factor” to flat posters always seems to do the trick! Here is a small selection.
Prigles ad inside a train with two pringles flying into a bowl of soup
the poster next to that one with paired up ‘real’ Pringles on their way to the soup bowl
9. Handle tricks
Not only posters “get real”. Handles inside trains can also a popular and fun medium to create some attention. Here is our favorite one: the neck tie promising you more money… well! It is an ad for a loan company…
10. Tunnel Movies
Last the creme de la creme of entertaining advertisement to find in trains are not exactly inside the trains, but inside the tunnels. When desperately trying to come up with more advertising space since everything else is full already, someone came up with an installation that works similar to a flip-book: a series of still images is the base for a short movies and it is you who moves, in this case – the train. Installed on the sides of a tunnel, the movement of the train and the perfectly timed highlighting of each still frame after another creates an up to 7 second movie viewed by looking out of the window. A little demo shows how it works best.
single frames are installed inside a tunnel… © Aap!
… lining up next to each other.© Aap!
when driving by, a sensor measures the speed of the train and lights up each frame accordingly © Aap!
here a still of a tunnel movie for Adidas viewed from within the train © Aap!
Although some articles claimed years ago, that this technology would be the new hit and boom in all tunnels, I never saw one myself… I very much like the idea, though! Maybe too much hustle to install it afterall?
We very much hope that you liked our little train tour. Some more images on our Flickr page, if you like.