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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 8 (April 1, 1932.)

Outdoor — Advertising — On the New Zealand Railways — “One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.”—Old Chinese Proverb

page 42


On the New Zealand Railways
“One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.”—Old Chinese Proverb.

An article of practical advertising information for businessmen upon the advantages of services supplied by outdoor advertising on the New Zealand Railways.

Painted hoarding (double-aided) prepared and erected by the N.Z.R. Outdoor Advertising Branch.

Painted hoarding (double-aided) prepared and erected by the N.Z.R. Outdoor Advertising Branch.

Many businesses are to-day seriously concerned with the problem of a falling volume of trade, and, in many instances, one of the first economies attempted has been to reduce expenditure on advertising. In such circumstances any business that hopes to prosper should first be satisfied that it has the right goods to sell, and then use the best inducement to an increased turnover—judicious advertising.

Advertising as a “Fertiliser.”

The farmer knows that he must fertilise his land before he can expect good returns from it, and the successful businessmen are those who do not overlook the necessity of a “fertiliser” for their business in the form of effective advertising.

With the competitive conditions existing to-day, sheer necessity has made it a general practice in the more enterprising businesses to exploit any possibility latent in such by-products as are associated with the particular industry. Now, the Railway Department has a type of “by-product” in the space available on railway property throughout New Zealand for advertising purposes. It cannot afford to waste this 6,000 miles of “frontage.” Hence, in 1915 the Department established an Outdoor Advertising Branch, which, from a modest beginning, has developed into a complete and highly specialised organisation of artists, salesmen, signwriters, and sign erectors, such as is necessary for the successful conduct of advertising campaigns throughout the Dominion.

In many cases, no doubt, businessmen have found some advertising media too expensive for them in these days, and perhaps have neglected consideration of a most economical form of advertising, namely, outdoor signs. In addition to its comparatively low cost, outdoor advertising has a “circulation” value limited only by the population of the locality in which the advertisements are displayed and the volume of traffic passing them. The repetition value of outdoor advertising must also be taken into consideration, for many people pass and re-pass a given point day after day.

If one takes time to recall the successful businesses of recent years, the extensive outdoor advertising undertaken will be one of the first items noticeable. Take, for example, Liptons, Pears, Heinz, Wrigley, Wanamakers and Gamages. The financial success of these businesses is well known, and it cannot be doubted but that their executives are satisfied with the value received from the large page 43 sums they spend annually on outdoor advertising. And this is not surprising, for what advertising would catch the eye of the public more easily than a series of strikingly designed and effectively coloured hoardings—visible to residents of a locality and travellers alike, continuously?

Department's Advertising Services.

The Railway Department offers a wide field of selection for advertisers, and with the resources it has at its command, can meet any class of outdoor advertising required by any business.

Rail And Roadway Near Wellington. Example of a painted road and railside sign.

Rail And Roadway Near Wellington.
Example of a painted road and railside sign.

The standard forms offered are as follow:—

Painted hoardings.
Poster hoardings.
Station posters or painted signs.
Roadside (or Highway) signs.
Fences, bridges, and appropriate spaces.
Panels in Railway carriages.
Signs in Railway buses.
Metal plates at stations.
Signs in refreshment rooms.

By no other single means can an advertiser keep his pictorial message before so many people at so low a cost as by outdoor advertising. As an example of this, take a New Zealand Railways hoarding in one of the main centres, where traffic is greatest, and compare its cost, and the extent and duration of its appeal, with any other form of advertising. One of the large 10ft. by 20ft. hoardings can be artistically designed, painted in any colours desired, and maintained in good order for a whole year at a cost to the advertiser of from £27 to £34, according to the number taken. This hoarding advertisement is “working” every day of the year, and the cost is only from 10/- to 13/- per week. For cheapness this compares very favourably with other forms of advertising.

Recently one of the largest department stores in New Zealand put outdoor advertising to a very severe test. The advertising manager of this firm made use of a small number of 10ft. by 20ft. poster hoardings to advertise a special line of goods which he strictly refrained from advertising in any other way. The entire consignment was sold out in a few weeks. This result greatly surprised the advertiser, who had been prepared to accept as satisfactory such results in three months—the period for which he had rented the hoardings. The advertising costs of moving the stocks in question page 44 by means of a few posters was infinitesimal as compared with what the cost by other methods would have been. Needless to say this firm now believes in outdoor advertising.

Painted Hoardings.

These have certain advantages over the paper poster. They are more permanent, they withstand the weather better than the paper variety, and they generally permit of more detail in design. These hoardings are trellised, present a
Placed To Catch The Public Eye. A typical standard poster advertisement in a good “frontage” position on railway property.

Placed To Catch The Public Eye.
A typical standard poster advertisement in a good “frontage” position on railway property.

good appearance, and are generally placed on main thoroughfares near railway stations where the traffic is greatest.

Roadside Painted Signs (Double-sided).

The increased traffic on the roads has made this class of advertising very popular with all advertisers who desire to reach the motoring public. Almost wherever the railways run near the public highways, these signs may be erected. A very large portion of the main highways throughout the Dominion are therefore available to the Department's clients for this class of advertising. Two advertisements, placed back to back, are erected on standards which are set at such an angle as to show towards the road traffic going in either direction. The signs, as a rule, are also visible to railway passengers.

Standard sizes are 4ft. by 9ft. and 6ft. by 12ft. Annual rentals, including designing, painting, erection, and maintenance, range from about £11 each for the smaller size, and from about £17 each for the larger size.

Station Signs, etc. (Painted Advertisements of Various Sizes).

Various sizes of painted advertisements are erected on station platforms, buildings, fences, etc. As to the value of this form of advertising, some indication is given by the fact that there were over 25,000,000 passenger journeys on the New Zealand Railways last year.

The usual sizes for these signs, with specimen rates, are given below:—

Annual rentals, including painting and maintenance.

Size. Rental.
4ft. × 3ft £4 to £5
6ft. × 3ft £5 to £6
6ft. × 6ft. £7 to £10

Poster Hoardings.

Poster advertisements may be lithographed or hand-painted, and are supplied either by the advertiser or by the Railway Advertising Studio. While the painted hoarding has decided general advantages page 45 over the paper poster, the latter is preferable in certain circumstances, and the Department is always glad to advise customers upon this point. The advertiser who has a supply of good lithographed posters ready for use will usually do better to adopt the poster in preference to the painted advertisement. One of the advantages of the poster is that it is easily changed; and all poster services supplied by the Department include changes of design as well as renewals.

Poster Advertisements of Various Sizes.

While the 10ft. by 20ft. poster hoarding-is the prevailing standard in most countries, the smaller posters are still used to a considerable extent, especially by British firms. Most of these posters are very suitable for railway station advertising.

Annual rentals given below include posting and maintenance service (advertiser supplies posters):—

Size. Annual Rental (approx.)
40in. × 30in. £1 15 to £2 10 each
60in. × 40in. £2 5 to £4 0”
60in. × 80in. £3 10 to £6 0”
120in. × 80in. £5 0 to £10 10”

Metal Plates.

Lithographed tin plates of two standard sizes are provided by the Department for erection on verandah posts and other available spaces at railway stations. Annual rentals include printing, display and maintenance.

A Flourishing Town On The East Coast Of The North Island. Gisborne from Kaiti Hill. (Photo, A. P. Godber.)

A Flourishing Town On The East Coast Of The North Island.
Gisborne from Kaiti Hill.
(Photo, A. P. Godber.)

Size. Annual Rental.
From about
271/2in. × 91/2in. 10/- to 20/- each
20in. × 28in. 16/- to 30/-”

Some advertisers have a supply of enamel plates which they use for display purposes in suitable positions. A fairly large number of such plates are displayed at stations and on fences, buildings, etc.

Annual rentals vary according to the sizes of these plates, ranging from about 10/- to £2 each. As an example: Plates 2ft. × 3ft. would run from about 12/- to 25/-, according to number.

Railway Carriage Panels.

These are lithographed, glazed, and framed, and are placed along the sides and at the ends of railway carriages where they are in constant view of passengers. The average time spent in train journeys in New Zealand is approximately six hours. Upwards of 25,000,000 passengers are carried annually. The value of this class of advertising can be judged accordingly.

Sizes, 7in. × 31in. and 10in. × 18in.

Annual rentals, which include supply, lithographing, erection, and maintenance, range, according to the number taken, from about £ 1 to £2 each.

The foregoing is but a brief outline of the function of outdoor advertising, and of the Department's organisation and charges for services in this field of commercial activity.