March 23, 2006

Idea: Advertisements on the overhead bins

The overhead bins

Look, I didn’t say it’s a good idea. I admit that it’s ugly as sin. Every bit of empty space in our lives is slowly being taken over by ads, so why would I want even more? Well, have you noticed how expensive your airplane tickets are getting? Airlines are filing for bankruptcy protection, seats are getting less comfortable, and you’re asked to pay $6 for a box of stale crackers on a flight.

I was on a plane yesterday, and I noticed that with all the ads they were showing us on the overhead TVs, and all the ads crammed into the in-flight magazine, there was all this prime advertising real estate overhead that wasn’t being used. You already see overhead ads on the subways, on buses, in taxis, and on trains. Sometimes you’re even glad it’s there so you have something to look at to avoid eye contact with the person sitting across from you. So what’s a little more advertising on another mode of transportation?

I’m not even sure I should file this under “Ideas.” Maybe I need a category called “Predictions.” This seems sort of inevitable to me.


I was on a (UK based) flight recently, and they had adverts - in a sense - each bin showed a different destination they fly to.
So I think you’re right - it will happen soon…

Amazed it hasn’t happened already… At least they wouldn’t get graffiti-d (much) :)

Yeah, I saw the same thing on RyanAir flights a couple of years back. The key new idea you’re having though is that it will be advertising space that anyone could buy…

Can you imagine if you had other transport companies putting up ads about how dangerous air travel was, though?

On Horizon they put advertising on the tray tables, at least on one flight I took with them a couple years ago.

And relatedly, at the Coronado Mall in Albuquerque, there’s advertising on the stripes between parking spaces.

hmm it is a good Idea, but it would destroy prestege in planes, planes are suppose to be like motor coaches, you don’t see ads in them.

I’m surprised there aren’t more on the backs of the seats (in your eyeline). The bins are usually out of normal eyeline though, and you only use them when opening or closing them, so the majority of the time the adverts wouldn’t be right in your face.. maybe that’s what’s been stopping them, so far.

Buses, subways and cabs already have them… might as well toss in airplanes too. They’ll probably even give us the option of “upgrading” to “non-advertising” seats.

Well, if you’re travelling on a 747 then the adverts would be visible from various seats. Plus, people take bathroom trips, walk to the attendant, stretch, etc. So, it quite possibly might happen. If airlines can garner even more revenue, then why not. I just don’t see it trickling into First Class. Not to that extent anyways.

… Or how to make your flight experience seem just a little more like a subway ride. (And we know how much we love those!)

Air Deccan, a cheap domestic carrier here in India, is doing it already — the India Assurance Company took overhead bin ads on the flight I was on. Deccan also sells ad space on the planes themselves and on the disposable headrests on each seat. Who knows, maybe even the toilets will have advertising soon.

The ones that get to me are the ads on hubcaps.
The first time I saw it I was so distracted I nearly ran into the taxi’s lane. It’s annoying, ridiculous, and highly distracting.

I suppose if they did the overhead-bin ads, the next thing would be putting pharmaceutical ads on the air sickness bags. Can’t complain too much though…. I wouldn’t mind cheaper airfare, if that income even made it our way!

…the next thing would be putting pharmaceutical ads on the air sickness bags…

It’s already happening:

i saw it, my first thought: damn, why didn’t anyone else think of that?!?

Well, I would be quite pleased to see Dr. Z go international.

You won’t find these anytime soon on US carriers. Everything that is affixed to the aircraft must get certified through the FAA and that would be way too costly and time consuming for a company to switch out ads on a regular basis.

i am DEFINITELY going to pretend i never saw this blog.

Maybe they just didn’t do it already because there is no way to escape.. when going by subway you can exit every few minutes and move around, in the plane you’re locked in and bound to your seat in some way.. and ads would make the place look even smaller. And it’s just like the highspeed trains (ICE in Germany, TGV in France; no idea whether they have those in other countries that way) - there are no ads in there as well! Maybe it’s really about the time you’re exposed to it.

Great blog, keep it up! :)

Clearly people on this side of the Atlantic are reading Ironic Sans too. The following (dated June 16 2007) is from The Irish Examiner newspaper in… Ireland.


Ryanair ups the advertising ante with overhead storage space

Ryanair’s new advertising-laden bulkheads. Picture: Maxwells
RYANAIR has, in the past, sold advertising on seemingly every available space, inside and outside of its planes, including seat coverings, aircraft exteriors and even its sick bags.

Now, it’s using the front of its overhead luggage compartments as a way of upping advertising revenue. The low fares airline has signed an agreement with niche Irish-based advertising agency, Fourth Edition, to sell space on the luggage bins.

Initial contracts have been signed for Ryanair’s fleet based at Dublin, London Stansted and Charleroi Airports. Mobile phone network provider, Meteor, has signed up for the Dublin-bound planes in a campaign that will run until August; while popular stimulant drink, Red Bull and ING Bank have signed up to advertise on board the London and Belgian-based fleets. Each company will initially have planes to themselves and there will only be a maximum of two companies advertising per plane in future, according to Ryanair.

Ryanair’s communications director, Peter Sherrard, said this represents very good value for companies looking for cheaper and more eye-catching advertising alternatives. At an average fee of 4,000 per aircraft, he says its better value than advertising via more traditional public transport outlets like Dublin Bus and London Underground.

Meteor is just as excited. “This is a new and innovative way to connect with our customers and promote our roaming services to a captive audience as they prepare to travel.

“We’re delighted to be the first brand to market with this new advertising medium and think it’s an excellent brand fit, as both Ryanair and Meteor are committed to bringing greater competition to the markets in which we compete,” said the company’s marketing director, Michael Hayes.

Never one to miss an opportunity to mention Ryanair’s low fares promise, the airline’s deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley said: “This advertising will give clients unique exposure to our huge passenger numbers, while passengers will benefit too because these revenues will help keep our fares the lowest in Europe.”

Martin Barry, Fourth Edition’s managing director, added: “Ryanair has the diversity of routes, passenger volume and flight frequency to offer major advertisers exposure to an upwardly mobile and captive audience.

“As much as £80m per annum is spent on advertising in British and Irish….

Clarification: The 4,000 figure is in euro.