Taipei City bus riders may have noticed something different in their daily commutes. Now, instead of staring blankly out the window, they can stare blankly at commercials playing on color LCD monitors being installed on city buses.
The project is a partnership between the Taipei City Government, four transportation companies contracted to operate buses for the city and Acer Corporation, which manufactures the monitors and hardware used to run them. A pair of 17-inch flat-panel displays have already been installed in around 1,300 buses and plans call for an additional 2,400 buses to be outfitted.
So far, the programming has been limited to a handful of advertisements that replay again and again -- "ads infinitum," you might call it. But a spokesperson for the city government said that future programming will include public service announcements and information on upcoming cultural events.
"The city government encouraged the partnership between its contracted bus operators and Acer Corporation as a way to improve commuting for Taipei City residents," the spokesperson said.
Any plans for karaoke?
"Not at this time," she said.
While the project is costing millions of NT dollars, bus operators are expecting a windfall of advertising revenue. What's more, the cost of the hardware has been offset by the fact that Acer has provided the screens and computer hardware at a substantial discount and, in turn, gets to run ads of their own, including one for their TravelMate C100 computer.
The 60-second spot won last year's London International Advertising Award for best commercial. Filmed in an Aboriginal village near Alishan, the commercial silently tells a story of a Western traveler who meets a beautiful Aboriginal girl in the wilderness. Unable to speak the other's language, they communicate by drawing pictures using his trusty TravelMate. Yeh Jin-tien, who earned an Oscar for his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon designed the costumes for the beautifully filmed ad. Another Acer ad showing on a different route is less well-done; it's a PowerPoint presentation on the company's corporate strategy and global market share.
How have Taipei City residents taken to their "improved commuting" experience?
One rider named Chen summed it up: "It'll be nice when there are more than four commercials. ? I've become very familiar with Acer."
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