Edinburgh Trams and JCDecaux kickstart advertising plans

An artist's impression of how advertising could look on the city's trams. Picture: Mark Fearn
An artist's impression of how advertising could look on the city's trams. Picture: Mark Fearn
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TRAM bosses have kick-started the bidding process for companies looking to plaster their adverts across Edinburgh’s fleet, it has emerged.

Global giant JCDecaux, which has a city-wide advertising contract with the council, is on the hunt for the “first ever brand to advertise on the Edinburgh trams”.

Financial projections agreed before the tram’s launch stated that advertising in its first year should have generated £209,000.

But despite the service being almost two years old, it has yet to carry any adverts – with no clear reason given for the delay.

Now a post on the social media page of a senior member of staff at JCDecaux hints things may be picking up.

The statement, posted on networking site LinkedIn last week, reads: “After much anticipation I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that we are open for business on taking your brand to the Edinburgh masses through tram advertising.

“Be big, be bold, be seen, be the most talked about brand in town. Be the first ever brand to advertise on the Edinburgh trams. To get on board, get in touch.”

We previously told how a full wraparound advert on one of the city’s trams is likely to cost around £70,000 per year.

Advertising space within carriages and branding at tram stops would also be expected to form part of any marketing deal.

Big-name companies such as Middle Eastern airline Etihad, Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland were all thought to be interested in the opportunity to reach millions of people in the heart of the Capital.

In 2014, council chiefs insisted that “everything is on the table” as they moved to make money after spending £776 million on the beleaguered tram project.

Large colour promotions on the back of Lothian Buses – dubbed “mega rears” – cost advertisers around £16,000 for a double-decker and £7000 for a single deck.

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said tram adverts presented a “real opportunity that should be maximised for the benefit of the city”, admitting he was a “bit surprised” no visible headway had yet been made.

He said brands could potentially seek to “sponsor” the entire tram route – giving them naming rights to the line – as well as buying up adverts on individual trams.

He added: “It’s been in discussion for a long time. If I was a brand owner, I would be looking at the trams.”

JCDecaux won a £5 million contract in 2014 to manage advertising on all council property, including bus shelters. Last year, it was confirmed that this deal would include the trams.

A council spokeswoman said: “It is in the council’s best interests to start securing tram advertising revenue as soon as possible and we look forward to further progress being made.

“Discussions are ongoing between the council and JCDecaux and design proposals are still being finalised.”

JCDecaux did not respond when asked for a comment by the Evening News.

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com