Norway’s Nettbuss – Is This The Sexiest/Best Bus Commercial Ever?

Post by Steven Dale

One of the things we often talk about around these parts is the public outreach and marketing aspect of public transportation and how it so often falls short of being effective. A few personal favourites:

I once even suggested without a hint of sarcasm that we might even be able to spur transportation ridership simply by engaging Hollywood to make movies that flatter public transportation and make it look cool.

But generally speaking those are higher level concerns that don’t tend to deal with the most rudimentary of marketing techniques: The advertisement.

For the life of me, I can’t actually think of a billboard, sign or commercial promoting public transportation that actually captivates my attention; makes me smile, laugh and feel good about myself; and actively makes me want to support and use public transit. If anyone knows of one, please post it in the comments because I’m drawing a blank. And remember: I say that as a lifetime non-driver and public transportation user.

And then our own Julia Padvoiskis sends me a link to a Norwegian bus commercial that defies everything I just said and is just about the most wonderful transportation commercial I’ve ever seen.

Now before we go any further, I should mention that 4 seconds of the commercial contains (starting at the 1:46 mark) mild nudity and sexual content that may be considered offensive by some and should be treated as NSFW. As such, while I’d prefer to embed the video directly on this page, I understand certain people may not be amused by the offending parts of the video particularly as public transportation tends to be administered by public government agencies.

Nevertheless, the video is incredibly charming, sexy, heart-warming and does everything a good advertisement for public transportation should – namely, it makes one want to ride it now.

After you’ve viewed it, please come back to us to discuss your thoughts about the commercial; how it made you feel and think about public transportation; and if you think the 4 seconds in question took things a little too far.

I’d genuinely love to hear people’s thoughts on this.

Take a look. 

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  1. Matt the Engineer
    Love it. Makes me think of all of the people and cultures I'd never meet if I didn't ride the bus. The lady with no shoes on and a bird on her shoulder. The friendly business owner that chatted with me for an hour on a long-distance bus. The man answering every strange question his 5-yr old threw at him as if they were the most important questions ever asked*. The very polite homeless** people that sat around me chatting and laughing and having a great time just yesterday, and pulled me into their conversation. I also thought about my county's "Safe Place" system, where every bus (and other locations like fire stations) have a Safe Place decal by the door that children are supposed to look for in case they need help. Re: the 4 seconds. Not at all. Most European countries are less prudish about nudity than North Americans, and it's in quite a bit of advertising (never been to Norway, but it was certainly true in Italy). It wasn't completely necessary for the story, but the implication certainly was (building the humor and shock of all of the kids having to sit outside waiting). Around here I'd just cut the actual nakedness and leave the rest in. * I think I learned a lot about being a father from this 20 minute encounter. ** Or just low income and slightly off smelling people that like to pull out a bottle of liquor on the bus. How do I know if they have homes?
  2. How prudish are the Canadians? ;o(== This commercial is excellent. Everybody finds a content to remember. Make a film, someone is oversleeping, runs to the bus, reaches the bus stop but at this moment the bus leaves the station. Irritated and weary his/her glance falls on the gondola above. Sound: „Every 10 seconds we bring you punctual above the car jam to your destination..." Why not? It is easy...
  3. It is called „Viral Marketing“. The spot is good and I sent it to my daughter and she... Like [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxq90xmYUs Will It Blend]. With an advertising budget of $ 50,- they became famous and increased their sale by 700%. You don't sell gondolas or transit. You have to sell solutions, dreams, advantages. ...
  4. I don't think it's a question of how prudish Canadians are - generally speaking, we're pretty easy-going. I think the issue is more about our political culture that strives towards some unattainable average where no one is offended by anything. I don't know about you, but there's nothing more offensive to me than a culture that doesn't have the potential to offend. Isn't that what a free and democratic society is all about?
  5. Exactly. Public transit sells public transit. Public transit needs to sell solutions, dreams, advantages and hope.
  6. I love how you ask yourself "how do I know if they have homes?" Too often, I think, we don't question ourselves, our own ideas and own perceptions. I think it's really healthy when we actually take the time to humbly point out that maybe we don't know what we think we know.
  7. No. Public transit doesn't sell public transit. You sell the solution to reach the job on time. You sell the solution to drink alcohol at dinner and drive home without an accident at night. You sell the solution to spend one hour of your daily time with your children, instead sitting in or waiting to a bus. You sell the solution to reduce CO2-emissions with the same mobility.

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