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'Peg company creates buzz with subway advertising

Last Updated May 9 2006 10:07 AM CDT
CBC News


Sidetrack Technologies’ ads, seen here along the right side of a subway tunnel, appear as a short film to passengers. [Sidetrack Technologies]

A Winnipeg company is making its mark in cities around the world with a new advertising scheme that can’t be used in its home city.

Sidetrack Technologies has come up with an innovative way to add motion-picture advertising to subway tunnels.

The company installs hundreds of pictures along the walls of tunnels. When subway trains speed past the pictures, they act like film frames, creating a 15-second motion-picture commercial.

Sidetrack owner Bradley Caruk says the system is an effective way to reach audiences.

“We had about an 85 [per cent] recall rate, so when people rode the train and there’s an ad for a merchandise chain of stores, they would remember that name,” Caruk told CBC News, noting that the average recall rate for television commercials is about 25 per cent.

“It’s a great idea for a couple of reasons,” said Rob Warren, director of the University of Manitoba’s Asper Centre for Entrepreneurship.

“One is, it gets people involved. One thing we know about advertising today is people need to get involved. And the second thing is it gets people thinking about you, as an advertiser, in a place they don’t usually think about advertising.”

Sidetrack Technologies already has installation in subway systems in Boston, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. The company plans expansion to San Francisco, London, Moscow and Toronto this summer.

Winnipeg, the company’s home city, does not have a subway system.

The company’s growth is leading to some big paydays � Sidetrack has projected sales of $85 million over the next five years, Caruk said.