‘Back of the net!’ – Chile’s Copa America bus stops turned goals

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The 2015 Copa America kicked off in Chile last week and the city of Rancagua – which hosts two group games – got into the spirit by remodelling bus stops to resemble football goals, complete with netting and artificial turf.

People wait for transportation in a bus stop decorated as a soccer goalpost, outside El Teniente stadium, in RancaguaPhoto via REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS

Unfortunately for Rancagua, the city’s involvement in the tournament will be over within the first week, with the later stages held elsewhere in the country – so the people waiting at these bus stops might well be waiting for a bus out of town.

That said, the initiative does draw attention to the city’s role in a national event, drumming up excitement in the build up to the tournament and acting as a reminder when the roadshow has head up the road to the capital Santiago.

There are some practicality issues though.

It’s pretty cold in Rancagua this time of year, and goal-netting probably doesn’t provide much protection from the elements. Perhaps the organisers should’ve borrowed from a British Gas stunt from earlier in the year, which supported their Hive campaign by installing Twitter-activated heaters in a bus shelter at Manchester Piccadilly station. There visitors to the station tweeted the hashtag #TweettoHeat and the shelter sprang into life.

Never-the-less, Rancagua has made a good use of high-profile infrastructure. How easy it would be to make similar wholesale changes to a city’s bus stops in the UK market is less clear – bus shelters are big business. Last month Clear Channel UK won a renewed contract with TfL, providing shelters and advertising to our nation’s capital for the next ten years in a deal worth £250m.

Millions of opportunities-to-see every day, including drivers, pedestrians and, of course, a captive audience of bus users, mean companies like Clear Channel, and competitors like JCDecaux and Viacom will spend millions installing and maintaining shiny shelters to split the revenue with local authorities and organisations like TfL.

Of course, that’s exactly the reason why doing something different with the infrastructure can have such a big impact. We’re so used to advertising while we wait for buses and trains that we almost tune it out, you’ve got to play a different song to get heard.



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