Bus Advertising vs MTR Advertising: A Comparison of Two Popular OOH Advertisings

Have you ever experienced one of these situations: You had to wait for a few trains at the MTR before you could get on because it is too crowded to get on, or you were pushed against the door for the whole journey on the bus because there was barely any space left? This is because 10 million journeys on public transport are taken by Hong Kong citizens daily, according to Transport Department. Considering that the population of Hong Kong is 7 million, the patronage of public transport is larger than the number of people in Hong Kong. The MTR and buses are the most common public transportations so we will compare advertising on these two transportations.

Bus Advertising

Bus advertising

Hong Kong has 2 main independent bus service companies, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and Long Win Bus (LWB), both under Transport International Holdings Limited, the other one is Templewater Bravo Holdings Limitedwhich owns Citybus, New World First Bus and New Lantao Bus Company. For all bus service companies, there are 3 types of advertisement, Bus-body advertising, bus-interior advertising, and bus shelter advertisement. Details about the format and price of each type of bus advertising are written in the second part.

Bus advertising in Hong Kong is one of the most popular OOH advertising because of the high number of patronages. By April 2021, there is an average number of 104,673 thousand bus rides taken every day. This number can estimate the exposure of passengers on bus-interior advertisements since these are the people that will board the bus. 

MTR Advertising

MTR advertising

The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) has in total 9 railway lines, excluding the Airport Express and the Light Rail:

  • West Rail Line
  • Tung Chung Line
  • Tuen Ma Line
  • Kwun Tong Line
  • Tsuen Wan Lin
  • Island Line
  • Tseng Kwan O Line
  • South Island Line
  • Disneyland Resort Line.

MTR advertising can generally be categorized into station advertisements and train advertisements. Station advertisements includes MTR poster ads and MTR sticker ads. Train advertising includes interior and exterior advertisements, like bus advertising. 

MTR is the single largest transportation service used by Hong Kong people, with a whopping 111,127 thousand trips taken by passengers each day, 7 million more than all the bus companies combined. OOH advertising with MTR can have a major advantage by the sheer number of exposures from passengers. MTR posters can be hoisted by the railroad, in the concourse as well as beside escalators so the MTR advertising spaces are not at all lacking.

Bus Advertising Format and Price

As mentioned above, bus advertising includes bus-body advertising, bus interior advertising, and bus shelter advertising. Let’s look at each type of advertising format and analyse the benefits of bus advertising in Hong Kong.

Bus-body advertising

  • Super Whole Bus Bus-body advertising price: $5,650 -$9,160 per week
  • Driver Side Bus-body advertising price: $1,425-$6,725 per week
  • Pedestrian Side Bus-body advertising price: $975-$2,600 per week
  • Back Side Bus-body advertising price: $425-$1,925 per week
  • Front Side Bus-body advertising price: $675-$1,075 per week

Bus-interior advertising

  • Entrance: $475-$2,000 per week
  • Stairs: $550-$1,825 per week
  • Interior: $550-$1,450 per week
  • Ceiling: $575-$2162 per week

Bus Shelter advertising

  • Flagship Domination
  • Première Panel
  • Scrolling Première Panel
  • Première Panel Plus
  • Digital Frame
  • 4-Sheet Panel
  • Mega Panel

Bus advertisements on the bus-body can be shown to more people than the daily 100 million passengers since it is not only on the outside of the bus and thus can be seen by pedestrians, but also is mobile OOH advertising. By mobile it means the bus advertisement will move around and is able to be shown to more people in different areas. Pedestrians passing by or standing in the street would also be able to see the advertisements which can significantly increase the exposure of bus advertisement. Bus advertising is a great operation of OOH advertising, the objective being bringing your product to the world and trying to let as many people to know your business as possible.

Interior bus advertising in Hong Kong also has the advantage of being more personal to the passengers. Double deck buses have 63 seats and advertisements could be placed on almost all the backs of the seats. When passengers sit down, they will have their own personal space and the first thing they will see is you personally advertising to them. This gives more of a sense of intimacy.

Advantages over MTR advertising

  1. Bus advertising is more widespread than MTR advertising, so its target audience is not just its passengers. Bus-body advertisements are on the exterior of the bus, and which could be seen by anyone passing by, or even at home, or in their office if they have a view of the streets. MTR advertisement, on the other hand, mainly focuses on their paying passengers since most of the advertising spaces are in the train or in the MTR station which are underground.  Even in the rare occasion where there are exterior advertising spaces on the train, it would move too fast and be too distant from the crowds for them to be able to see the advertisement itself clearly. 
  2. In a full capacity situation, there is a much higher chance for bus passengers to see and read an advertisement than MTR passengers. The capacity for the current ADL Enviro 500 Turbo bus is 150 and there are 98 seats in total. This means that most passengers will get an unblocked view of the back-of-the-seat advertisements. In comparison, each MTR car has 45-52 seats when their capacity is about 312.5. This means that most passengers will be standing and crowded together, greatly blocking the view of most advertisements posted. 

MTR Advertising Format and Price

Station Advertisement

  • MTR Poster: $360- $399,000 per week (4 sheet-12 sheet package)
  • MTR Sticker: $5,200- $554,400 per week (per zone)

Train Advertisement

  • In-train: $25,200- $120,800 per week
  • Train-body: $84,000 per week

MTR advertisements can be categorised into station advertisements and train advertisements. MTR stations have a lot of advertising spaces because they are built establishments, from screen doors to escalator sides or even long corridors, MTR stations are not shy from advertising spaces. Every so often, you could see multiple MTR poster of advertisements from the same business. This can help passengers familiarise themselves with your business and leave a more memorable impression. 

The different shops and services of MTR retains passengers in the stations and increases the interaction between the passengers and your advertisement. The MTR station basically gives you everything you need, take away restaurants, boutiques, and some bigger stations even have cosmetic stores. In addition to the air conditioning and some seats provided, passengers are less likely to immediately escape the station after their journey but are willing to stay longer, thus giving them time to look around and spot your MTR poster or sticker advertisements.

Advantages over Bus advertising

  1. The biggest edge MTR advertising have over bus advertising would be the large flow of passengers. The Hong Kong MTR currently has the highest patronage in Hong Kong, this gives you the ability to advertise to almost anyone that requires any travelling. Having MTR advertising for OOH advertising could give advertisements the most exposure towards specified audiences. 
  2. Consider the facing of MTR poster advertisements at the side of the railway, are you usually looking towards or away from the MTR poster when you are waiting for the train? Now think of the direction you’re facing at bus shelters, are you usually facing towards or backwards the posters? Because of the special design of MTR stations, you are able to look at advertisements on the opposite wall while it is quite impossible to do that to bus shelters. Needless to say, MTR advertising have the upper hand in letting passengers look at their advertisements.
  3. There is less distraction for MTR advertising. The MTR, like most underground railway system, passes through tunnels and tunnels so there is essentially nothing to look at when the train is travelling. When there is no view to look at, either the passengers have to provide their own entertainment, or else the only thing to look at will be the MTR advertisements. Buses, on the hand, still has the street view to look at so advertisements may not be the first choice for people to look at if they are bored.

Bus Advertising and MTR Advertising USP (Unique Selling Points)

Bus Advertising Unique Selling Points:

  • Mobile OOH advertising that can have a wider audience scope 
  • More personal advertisements to passengers
  • Less crowded cars allow passengers to read advertisements easily

MTR Advertising Unique Selling Points:

  • Constructed stations gives more advertising spaces
  • Better shops and services attract people to stay in the station and see advertisements
  • Public transport with the largest patronage in Hong Kong increases exposure
  • Advertising facing waiting passengers by the railway
  • Less distraction in views brings more passengers to look at advertisements

Source: https://www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/en/content_4885/chart22.pdf


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