Ad break as you travel

Have you ever noticed what’s on the back of a train ticket? I really don’t know the answer when this question first pops in my mind. And I believe it’ll be the same with many others too. However, all this will change in a few months time, as the best of the ad minds will burn their midnight oil to come up with a strategy to make people turn their tickets and take notice of what’s on the other side too. Why? It’s because the Railway ministry has woke up to the consumerism effect in India and are trying to generate additional revenues by selling the back space of tickets for corporate advertisements. Check out the story here.

train ticket ad
People are used to see only the departure date and timings in a ticket. So Ad agencies must first think about – how to change this habit and make people turn their tickets. And how to make people keep the tickets a little longer in their hands, as they are used to take out the tickets only when the TTR is in vicinity. Well, giving a free prize or some discount offer would be the easiest way to change this habit overnight. Of course not without the conditions apply tag. That’s just the first step. Will an Ad in a Rly. ticket really help the business? What decisions do people actually make on the move sitting inside a train? Understanding these choices will help the ad to produce instant results.

People spend the most in a railway station for food and beverages. So an Ad for Coke or Pepsi with some offer on prizes would fit the ticket well. Again a burger or pizza ad will also workout well, provided a point of sales unit is present near the station, as having them inside a moving train is very convenient than eating a dosa or chappathi. Also people would like to read during travel, as not many would love to watch the passing trees and lamp posts all day long or talk to strangers for hours. Hence, ads for a magazine or books in tickets will produce immediate results.

Try searching for, ‘India rail tickets’, in Google and see what you get in the sponsored links. It’ll mostly be ads for low cost carriers like ‘Find cheap flights’, ‘Low fares now. Why use Train? Fly with us instead’. India’s low cost carriers are not just speaking of competing with Indian Railways to get their I or II class train travelers to fly, they even put money where their mouth is by giving ads in the sponsored links for train ticket reservation search. What a great opportunity for them now! They would love to bid the ad space for the AC train tickets, (provided railways allowed such competitor advertisement) so that they can lure their potential first time consumers right in their cabins with attractive ‘fly cheaper’ offers.

As far as the traveling public is concerned, it really doesn’t matter to them, if the ad is by GoAir or Coke , or if the ad appears in the front space or in the back space. All they would like to know is whether Lalu will pass on this extra revenue earned from the ticket ads to them by reducing the train fare. Wait till the railway budget 2007 to get the answers.


  1. Well, there’s one thing to thank Heavens for. Laloo Land is slowly but surely waking up to consumerism and the modern Indian.
    But moreover, rather than reduced ticket fares, the railway passenger would also like to see more local trains and long distance ones. With better facilities, of course. For example, local trains in Mumbai will soon air blowers to reduce suffocation.

  2. Spicejet was features on the indian railways website almost a year back. I had even made a post about it on my blog, if somebody is interested to read it.

  3. Siva Rajendran says:

    Anon – Yeah it’s a good idea to add more trains with the ad revenue than reducing ticket price.

    Kapil – As Spicejet already showed the way in IRCTC, other players like Air Deccan, GoAir and IndiGo would surely want to take this opportunity to attract the rail passengers to fly with their ad in the train ticket itself. Thanks for the link.

  4. One way to make the ad stand out is by making the ticket itself to stand out. It might not be long bfore we might hav small and colurful booklets for tickets. The kind issued for air travel.

    Will not be long bfore we hav ads on bus tickets too!! or am i going too far?


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