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Marketer: United Airlines

Agencies: Fallon Worldwide and Mediaedge:cia, Hong Kong

Does this subway line go from Hong Kong to Chicago or is it just an ad?

[Hong Kong] United Airlines has moved its marketing underground in Hong Kong with a high-tech ad on the Chinese territory's MTR subway system. In a joint deal with United; MTR Corp.; the airline's creative agency, Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide; and its media agency, WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia; Submedia Advertising installed 250 light boxes on previously unused MTR tunnel walls. The effect is a 919-foot ad placed between the Hong Kong subway line's well-traveled Wanchai and Causeway Bay stations, turning the walls into motion-picture screens. The ad will run until the end of May.

"It's like the high-speed flipbook cartoons that kids make. The train passes by backlit images about 37 miles per hour, creating a 20-second movie," said Douglas Woodring, Submedia's Hong Kong-based CEO, Asia. The images give viewers the sensation of flying from Hong Kong to Chicago using familiar images of each city's airport and skyline, and in-between sights such as San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge.

Some 240,000 commuters will pass the ad every day, for a total of 7.4 million people in May. The subway ad is costing United $400,000.

Submedia has already used the technology in the U.S. for marketers such as American Express, Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola, Discovery Channel, Nissan and Snapple.

The United initiative is the first time Submedia has used the technology outside the U.S. Another Submedia ad will be launched on Tokyo's Ginza subway line for an undisclosed marketer at the end of May, and more campaigns are planned for Hong Kong, said Mr. Woodring.