NEW DELHI: Transport hubs are emerging as a target for India's marketers who have rapidly taken to ambient media in their search for new and effective ways to reach consumers.

As leading cities develop modern mass transit facilities, operators are looking beyond ticket revenue, with advertising and station naming rights expected to account for an increasing proportion of their income.

Major brands, including Vodafone, Airtel and IndusInd Bank, have added their names to stations on the Gurgaon Rapid Metro for periods ranging between three and five years.

The CyberCity station, for example, has become the IndusInd Bank CyberCity station, painted in brand colours and including a fully digitised branch on the premises. In addition, the bank also has a number of days where it can carry on brand promotions within the station.

"Gurgaon is one of our high priority markets and venues for a high-decibel branding property is limited," observed Mohit Ganju, head of marketing & communication at IndusInd Bank. "The Rapid Metro was the best possible opportunity," he told the Economic Times.

Similarly, the Vodafone Belvedere Towers station gives the telecoms business exterior visibility, platform retail space and an experiential marketing setup. "We needed to strengthen the brand in Delhi-NCR in an innovative way," explained Ronita Mitra, svp/brand communication and insights. A Vodafone Metro station was chosen, with the brand's "Faster. Smarter. Better" promise seen to mesh neatly with the qualities of the metro rail system itself.

The Mumbai Metro is going down the same route, auctioning naming rights to 12 stations on a new phase for a price reported to be around Rs 30 lakh per month for between two and three years.

Both agencies and operators are enthusiastic about the potential of such ambient media, since it offers a long "dwell time" as well as being available 365 days a year with large numbers of people passing through.

Sanjiv Rai, CEO & MD, Rapid Metro Gurgaon, pointed out that, in comparison, the country's biggest branding event – India Premier League cricket – only took place for around 45 days, making a permanent branded station that much more powerful as a medium.

"The future really is in Ambient 2.0," declared Haresh Nayak, managing director, Posterscope Group India, as it "brings in connectivity and engagement with consumer through technology and digital platforms".

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff