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The Worst Bus Ad In Canada – Toronto Hyundai

IMG_0133With the right copy, bus ads are an effective marketing vehicle (hahaha).

But seriously folks, exterior transit ads are an efficient way to convey a concise message to a broad audience. Unlike traditional OOH (Out Of Home) marketing, mobile transit ads allow many people throughout multiple areas of your chosen city see your ad. Hard to avoid, bus ads can be a fantastic way to hammer across a simple message.

Home repair companies and personal injury firms are two examples of companies that have had success marketing through this medium. They’ve done it by using creative that is simple and concise. A successful waterproofing company had the caption “Wet Basement?”. A personal injury law firm used the line “Hurt In A Car?”. Easy to understand with few words, these messages have resulted in a great return on investment.

But with every effective bus ad are three that fail to use the medium effectively. And amongst the failures lies the worst bus ad in the history of ads (and buses)…

Toronto Hyundai!

Toronto Hyundai’s bus ad is such a mess it’s almost hard to figure out where to start. First, the name of the company is hidden. What’s the ad for? Marketing is not a game of “Where’s Waldo”. All ads should clearly state what the targeted company/product is. If the potential customer has to search to find out what’s being marketed, then the ad is a failure.

Second, where are the value propositions? What makes Toronto Hyundai the best choice for a consumer? Does Toronto Hyundai offer a great service? Do they have superior pricing? Hell, it doesn’t even show what a Hyundai is!

Third, the ad tries to highlight where Toronto Hyundai is located by using the “Where The Heck Is…” headline. While the headline is hokey and really has nothing to do with the product being showcased, the real irony lies in the fact that the way the ad layout was constructed the ad doesn’t easily answer the question. The map shows only a few streets, making it difficult to put the dealer’s location into the larger context. Additionally, the dealership is next to two major well-known landmarks – Yorkdale and Hwy 401. Yorkdale isn’t featured on the map and Hwy 401 is written in small writing. A simple map with the neighbouring landmarks highlighted would have been far more effective.

Bus ads are expensive. Beyond the cost of the ad placement itself, there are the graphic design and printing costs. While I have no direct knowledge as to how the campaign is performing for Toronto Hyundai, my instinct tells me that they spent the cost of a few Hyundais on a wasted campaign.

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