The Underground and Other Underrated Marketing Platforms

The Underground and Other Underrated Marketing Platforms

1000 523 Jane Hunt

Underground and underrated. Take care when stepping onto the marketing platform

If you’ve spent much time on the London Underground you’ll have noticed the ads. Ads on the trains, ads on the platforms, ads in the tunnels, ads on the escalators. Big ads, small ads, boring ads, funny ads. Ads on paper, ads on screens. And so on. In spite of some lines having enabled Wi-Fi, underground advertising remains powerful and relevant.

Research from Exertion Media has found that most commuters find ads a welcome distraction from their journeys and that

• 65% say advertising on the London Underground isn’t as intrusive as other advertising
• 60% notice when new ads appear on their regular journeys/ commute
• 7 in 10 agree they have the time to take notice of advertising on the underground.

All this makes the tube a unique opportunity. Even though brands continue to get it wrong with inappropriate advertising or controversial content, the tube is a highly underrated platform in terms of grabbing audience attention.

With such an overcrowded online space, marketing platforms with the ability to hold audience attention should surely be seen as gold dust. Here are three more.


According to Edison Research, podcast listening increased from 11% to 36% in 2016, translating into an estimated 98 million listeners. What was once a niche medium for specific topics and themes now represents a massive opportunity for marketers.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of podcasting is that it allows for easily digestible long-form content, in a way that few other marketing platforms do. Accoridng to Bob Knorpp, host of the Beancast Marketing Podcast and president of The Cool Beans Group explains: “People who say that your podcast should be shorter are talking about people who don’t listen to podcasts.”

Podcast-loving brands include Microsoft, eBay and the ever-forward-thinking GE.

Interactive billboards

“Outdoor advertising is peddling a commodity it does not own and without the owner’s permission: your field of vision,” said ad man Howard Luck Gossange in 1960. “The individual’s air space is intentionally violated by billboards every day of the year.” More than fifty years later and billboards are still distracting us; only now they’re interactive (ok, sometimes). Gossange may well have approved.

Interactive billboards give passers-by the opportunity to actively engage with advertising, rather than passively absorbing its unceasing message. Billboards with touchscreen capabilities can change and adapt to the user’s interactions.

A couple of years ago, Google used clickable paper posters to ask people which non-profits it should fund. Rather than launch a simple online vote, Google thought it better to get out into the community and ask the opinions of locals.

User-generated content

Knowing what content your audience wants to consume is a major marketing challenge, but one that can be easily overcome if you get your audience to create content for you in the first place.

Along with greater relevancy, UGC provides a different perspective on consumer interactions, more authentic approval of your goods and services and enhanced brand credibility among loyal fans and followers.

Starbucks already knows how photos of misspelled names on its coffee cups dominate the brand’s hashtag. But with its “White Cup Contest”, where customers were invited to draw on their cups and submit the pictures as entries, Starbucks encouraged users to create a more captivating kind of content that also offered a tangible reward.