<TABLE cellSpacing=6 cellPadding=0 width=520 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=rheader vAlign=top colSpan=2>
</TD></TR><TR><!--<td valign="top" width="50%">--><TD vAlign=top><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD><TABLE cellSpacing=4 width=245 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=gbodytext>An advert under Tokyo </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD><TD class=date vAlign=top><!--First created : 03 June 2004 1056 hrs 0256 hrs (GMT)--><!--Last modified :03 June 2004 1057 hrs (SST) 0257 hrs (GMT)--></SPAN>Moving picture ads turn Japan's train tunnels into advertising gold
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</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=6 cellPadding=0 width=520 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=cna2 vAlign=top colSpan=2>TOKYO: A new advertising medium that turns subway tunnel walls into colourful motion picture commercials as trains pass debuts this week in the Japanese capital, capitalizing on one of its most plentiful assets -- miles of subway routes.
The motion picture technology -- actually a long series of still images in slatted boxes -- works because a moving passenger perceives the still images seen through slits like a movie projected through a rapidly clicking shutter.
It is based on a 19th century toy, the zoetrope, which creates the illusion of moving images when the cylinder on which they are placed is spun round.
It first appeared as an advertising tool in Atlanta in 2001, according the technology's licensor, Submedia Asia Ltd.
In a sneak preview train ride for journalists Wednesday, the dark train tunnel wall seen through a window burst into color with two interlocked students spinning cartwheels in a sports drink advertisement.
Douglas Woodring, chief executive officer of Submedia Asia, said after Japan, commuters in the rest of Asia and Europe could see such commercials on their subway tunnels in a year or so.
"Subways like this technology because it's actually giving them a new chance for a revenue stream with an asset that they have a lot of, which is tunnel walls," Woodring said.
"People realize there's something out the window to look at that's fun."
Paris, Mexico City, Moscow and Istanbul could see the medium soon, following displays already set up in Atlanta, New York, and, last month, Hong Kong, he said. Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok also offer promising markets, he said.
"Most of Asia has subways. We just have to take it a step at a time."
Some 200,000 riders a day in Tokyo are expected to get a glimpse of the ad when they pass by a 200-meter (yard) long strip of tunnel between Akasaka-mitsuke and Tameike-sanno stations on Tokyo's Ginza line, he said.
Akira Sugita, head of the media department at drinks maker Suntory Ltd. said it became Sunmedia's first Japanese client because of the medium's unique eye-catching appeal without costing "dramatically more" than conventional posters.
Tokyo Metro Co. Ltd. and its advertising firm NKB Inc., which are partners with Submedia's Japanese unit, said the moving ads were cost-effective and easy to maintain.
"Compared to liquid crystal display televisions, this is very simple," said Tokyo Metro advertising manager Masakazu Kikuchi.
Submedia would not reveal how much the moving advertisements would cost, but Woodring said "a few" companies have already lined up to use them.
I've heard of this method for quite a few years now and it sounds somewhat appealing - as far as ads go. Interesting stuff.