You could call this How to run the best advertising campaign or Madrid subway poster: a ticket to nowhereHere’s a photo from the recent campaign by the subway company in Madrid, Spain.
It’s a great idea as it aims to show very simply and clearly what good value you are getting for your ticket when you ride the subway in Madrid by comparing the charges on subways around the world. The timing was important because the campaign ran just as the company were implementing a pretty drastic hike in the price of fares.
Unfortunately, the campaign generated so much negative feedback that the posters were hastily taken down, that’s to say the ones that had not been ripped up by angry commuters who felt the company were trying to play them for fools.
At first sight, the argument seems to be clear: the price of a ticket on the Madrid subway is lower than in many other cities and there are the figures to prove it.
But they don’t.
In the first place, some subway users felt that some of the figures used were inaccurate because they do not compare similar journeys, as they knew from their holidays abroad.
In the second place, and more importantly, the figures do not take into account the relative wage levels in the different cities quoted. This was really most angered the Madrileños, who suffer some of the lowest wages in Europe. Apart from the huge number of young, qualified adults who are becarios, working full time hours in exchange for a grant, there are thousands working for a minimum wage of less than 1,000 euros a month. How can you compare ticket prices for those persons with ticket prices in London where salaries are generally much higher?
So, a great poster, great idea and perfect timing. Just a shame the company didn’t think about who their customers are before printing the ads. This was a ticket to nowhere and the light at the end of the tunnel was a glare of bad publicity.
On second thoughts, maybe you should call this How to ruin the best advertising campaign.