“Going Underground” WiFi comes to the Tube!
One of my favourite songs by The Jam……And also where you can find the new Virgin Media WiFi service, on selected tube platforms.
The tube is a journey recently transformed by digital devices, such as the iPod and Kindle, which make our daily squeeze, push and shove a little more bearable. We can escape into our own world, listening to our favourite tunes, or reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” anonymously on the Kindle (everyone on my train journey seems to be reading this at the moment).
So what impact will WiFi on Underground platforms have for consumers and advertisers?
It’s a no-brainer that it will offer more convenience for consumers, as being shut off from the outside world is one of the most frustrating parts of tube travel, especially when coping with delays.
So from being able to look up maps on the go, check meeting details, to being able to shop, browse, Google, or just Tweet “I’m waiting for the tube. Yes it’s delayed!” WiFi on the underground will improve the travel experience.
It will likely prove a distraction; I predict a few more trains missed and a little more frustration amongst passengers trying to get past someone absorbed in their phone trying to finish a tweet or send an email before they get on the train.
For advertisers, the tube is already a very effective medium as you have such a captive audience. From working with clients and tracking specific creative displayed on tube panels or stairs, we’ve seen time and time again how a well executed ad can cut through on the tube.
A great example (which we didnt work on, but would have loved to!) is the Dixons 2009 “The place to buy” campaign by M&C Saatchi, which won Gold & Grand Prix awards in the 2011 APG awards.
So it’s a great move for Virgin Media, as they not only get great publicity, but lots of new customers will sign up to use their service. Longer term, the benefit will in part depend on how well the service is delivered.
For me there is significant potential if advertisers can tie in targeted ads to different hotspots, along with geo-location based offers. Now how about an app for that?