Train station advertising – does it work?

Has anyone else noticed how Oxford Circus station appears to have become particularly ‘exclusive’ with its advertising recently?

Having gotten used to scanning a mixed bag of theatre ads, charity promos and ‘Are you tired of being tired?’ advertisements on my daily commute through Seven Sisters, I was somewhat delighted to find myself in the tunnel of pure, uninterrupted David Gandy.

It got my attention.

Imagine my joy at discovering that the exclusive and identical M&S ads of David (yes we’re on first name terms) continued on my journey up the escalator.

“Fantastic advertising strategy” in my (slightly biased) opinion, I thought.

The following week (to my dismay) Mr Gandy had been replaced by an attractive woman in hosiery advertising Calzedonia – I remember the name.

The same, wall to wall plastering of posters with no obvious call to action – just the brand name and an attractive woman modelling the product.

Yes, I remembered the brand name. But I’m probably not going to shop there.

And it got me thinking.

One weeks’ worth of exclusive advertising in a place of such high footfall (Oxford Circus sees more than 53 million passengers a year pass through its barriers) must have cost a bomb.

Is it all really worth it?

It has long been known that repeated visual exposure to an object can affect an observer’s preference for it.

The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle.

In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likeable that person appears to be.

And perhaps most importantly, these advertisements are non-conscious mechanisms, and their strategic placement means that we almost become desensitised to them as a sales tool; instead they become preferable and familiar.

But what does this mean in terms of tangible results?

I’ve scoured the web looking for information and evidence relating to the success or failure or train station advertising – particularly when adopting this exclusive advertising approach rather than risk dilution – and haven’t found much on the subject.

I’m really keen to know more.

So if you’ve got any first hand experience, insight or an opinion and would like to share, please comment below or email . Thanks guys!


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