If you’re one of those Torontonians who still takes note whenever you see one of the city’s “new” streetcars roll by, you’ve got something else to look out for now: large vinyl ads for the Volvo XC90.
The Toronto Transit Commission is replacing its aging streetcar fleet with newer, sleeker models. The process, which began last August, has been slower than expected and so far just 16 of the 204 planned “Flexity” streetcars from Bombardier are on the streets, on a couple of routes in the west end of the city. But on Monday, Pattison Outdoor, which has a 12-year, $27 million-per-year contract to sell advertising across the Toronto Transit Commission, unveiled the first wrapped Flexity streetcar for Volvo. While the new streetcars are decidedly more modern looking compared to the previous models, they are also bigger, with the Volvo ads covering almost 30 metres of space.
“They are basically the biggest outdoor real estate available at street level,” said Maura Hanley, vice-president of Havas Media, Volvo’s media agency. The wrap is part of campaign promoting the XC90 being named North America’s truck/utility of the year for 2016. The streetcar wraps are ideal for reaching the target of drivers and the fact that they are so big and still so novel to many people around the city made it an even more attractive option. “It is a big bold message and it is a big bold medium,” said Hanley.
In total, the TTC operates 263 streetcars and allows no more than 20 to be wrapped at any time.
As the city goes through rapid growth and change, the streetcar format has become relatively more valuable for advertisers, said Mary Ventresca, Pattison’s vice-president, marketing and business development.
“Looking at the downtown core of Toronto, there has been so much construction and the traditional spaces for large format advertising used to be murals, but that is becoming an almost extinct option for a certain amount of scale,” said Ventresca. “[Streetcar wraps] really have become the high impact advertising surface to capture the core.”
Aside from being a larger format for the larger streetcars, the structure of the new cars present more uninterrupted surface space, while still adhering to the TTC policy of covering no more than 50% of window space, she said.