Marketing Messages Ride the Rails

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Rail-Ads, a program launching in June on the trains of the Metro-North Railroad lines out of New York's Grand Central Terminal, will let large and small marketers reach a captive audience of commuters more economically, according to a company executive.

Though riders of the rails know that advertising long has been a staple of train decor, Rail-Ads takes a different approach than what many have seen. Instead of selling an entire poster to a marketer for a message, the company has broken down its posters to accommodate several ads at once, lowering the cost to each advertiser.

"Rail-Ads was designed to make it easier for businesses large or small to reach consumers without costing a fortune," said Kyle Conklin, vice president sales/marketing at Rail-Ads, New York. "We have always seen large companies on the railways advertising but Rail-Ads caters to small companies that can't afford the entire poster."

Rates for the ads vary by size and frequency. Single 5-by-4 inches, double 10 by 4 or 5 by 8 and quad 10 by 8 ads are available on a weekly or monthly basis for one through six months. The minimum run is four weeks, and a one-time insertion fee also applies.

Rail-Ads pays a monthly flat rate to CBS Outdoors, the owner of all railroad ad space, to place the posters on the trains.

The program will debut on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines of Metro-North, which reaches New York City's northern suburbs, including parts of Connecticut. According to Rail-Ads, the average passenger demographics are a desirable audience. They are 60 percent male with an age range of 33-58 and an average household income range of $75,000-$135,000.

Types of clients that already have signed up for space when the program begins in June include local retailers and mortgage companies.

Rail-Ads plans to expand the program to the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway system this year as well.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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