Buses can be sexy

Leave it to the Danes to make the best public transport ad I have seen so far.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75F3CSZcCFs&feature=player_embedded’]


The ad essentially uses the same techniques ubiquitously applied to sell cars, and applies them to the bus.

Given that car ads seem to be about one out of every three or four shown on television, and essentially no advertising is done for public transport, it is not surprising that we have more of a “culture of the car” in New Zealand.

However, as I often argue, there are a lot of people who will simply take the transport that is most convenient for a given price. Many more people would take public transport if there was more convenient, reliable buses and trains, and private cars weren’t subsidised by urban planning policies and government funding.

In fact, New Zealanders are driving less and owning fewer cars, despite car-centric policy. And more and more Aucklanders are taking public transport or walking and cycling, because it is more convenient than being stuck in a traffic jam, and owning an operating a car is expensive. The reality of car commuting around the city is a lot less sexy than the car ads make it out to be.

The video above is good because the effect is humorous. Certainly, advertisements like this alone won’t work if there isn’t a big improvement in transport policy and funding in New Zealand. But there is a reason why car manufacturers spend enormous sums of money on advertising. Perhaps more ads like this will help change attitudes about transport.

What do you think?

18 Comments Posted

  1. Never use a car in Wellington – the Public Transport system (and good old walking)makes it a luxurious enabled town!

  2. Bloody awesome.

    But I don’t think ads like this will work because they will convince people that buses are cool.

    Rather – because it’s a blatant parody of a car ad – it will work by showing us how ridiculous car ads really are.

  3. Another benefit of using both trains and buses, you can meet “passionate and brave” taggers. They could be encouraged to use their skills in future Green party activities.

  4. Did anyone actually watch this ad to the end?

    Get up early tomorrow to get a good seat.

    So if you don’t get up early your not part of the cool gang.

    Is this actually a good message?

  5. Actually buses do suck. Trains on the other hand are cool. People make movies about them, indulge in nostalgia about them and give them names. Pasengers read, study and even talk on them.

    Agreed that New Zealanders can be pretty uncommunicative, but I’ve seen parties develop on trains. And once on the then Paraparaumu line a guy stood up and entertained passengers with a series of sleight of hand tricks. A new public transport experience is possible.

  6. TRAINS are the coolest.. when I was in Sydney, thats how I (& many others) got around. Further access & promotion needed.

    Kia-ora Julie-Anne

  7. In Wellington buses are good because they go direct to the smallish (compared to Auckland) and compact CBD. The central reason people use it is because it performs ok, and removes the otherwise hefty parking costs. Nothing to do with sex. Wellington also has a strange lack of thug-types in its populace, so PT isn’t quite so horrible.

    But check out this interesting development.


    Could you buy one? (if made cheap from full-scale mass-production). Much like a car in real-experience performance, for one, but cheap parking. Also extremely energy efficient – probably about 10% of the power requirements of a bus.

  8. I always thought that meant stopping at the Pub on the way?

    Which is a lot safer if you are NOT driving. 🙂

    …and I always give the morbidly obese plenty of room. Standing and moving about a bit never bothers me. I sit far too long far too often.

  9. Bet they wont show bus adds where the fat, unwashed person next to you is digging their flabby elbows into your side as they try and read the newspaper. BO washing over you, and their coughing spreading germs into the air just for you to breath in.

    Having travelled extensively on buses, trains and planes around the world, the non general communicative attitude is pretty universal amongst all the passengers except school kids.

    Another issue they wont advertise is the wet walk from stop to home/work at either end of a PT ride.

    Sure by all means glamorise PT, but dont be suprised when the general public dont buy it.

    In 50 years of car ownership I have had one car stolen (recovered by police) and three broken into. And I live in deepest darkest South Auckland (Manurewa).

    We dont hand over wads of cash for a car. We buy them from the side of the road for about $2K. Get third party insurance and drive them till they die.

    Currently a Toyota Camry done 260K (owned now for 6 years), all electrics still working, passes warrants at easy (has a slight oil leak) and I dont worry about the South Auckland car park dings.

    Car ownership is only expensive if the ego says you need a flash car.

    One thing that PT can never provide, that a car does, is freedom to “take to long way home”.

  10. Photonz – you may have a point about showing people what they dislike about the cars, but I think you need both sorts of ad, because there is a question people need to ask themselves about why they find the ad to be “the opposite of reality”. Which is another reason why the ad is effective. It strikes at the stereotypes. Part of the reason people here in NZ don’t enjoy PT much has to do with the solemn funereal silence often maintained by Kiwis in those conveyances. I sometimes had the feeling they’ve been taught not to talk.

    Andrew – you can meet someone you might like on a Bus. You won’t do that in a car unless you crash into them.

    …and if the PT is actually functional, as in no slower to get me to where I want to go and no appreciable added waiting time/inconvenience/expense over the car in use, then I prefer the PT.

    …true, I am admittedly weird but I know I am not alone in this.


  11. Transport is not a function of attitude. There is no “mad car disease”. People like cars because people LIKE cars. I do not know of a single human soul who prefers PT to their car, other things being equal.

    BTW: Car you have sex on a bus? If not then cars are definitely sexier.

  12. No one seems to realise that the reson the buses can be sexy ad is funny – is because it shows the opposite of reality.

    Better off showing an add of what people hate.
    Paying over huge wads of cash for petrol, handing over your first born for a parking spot, paying parking tickets, stuck in a jam, paying registration, paying insurance, paying the panel beater, then getting it stolen.

    Then show someone paying $2 for the bus, and getting to read the paper and have a coffee on the ride to work.

  13. That’s awesome! Would be great if we could advertise Welly buses like that. At the mo it’s less about cool drivers & more about semi-civil ones.

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