Soccer World Cup takes the bus in Australia

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SYDNEY -- Australian television is using an unusual advertising vehicle to promote the soccer World Cup in a country where rugby is the national sport.

National TV network SBS is spending $300,000 on a six-week campaign to promote its World Cup telecast by using buses in major Australian cities to deliver its message. Ad agency BAM SSB Sydney, wholly owned by Japanese advertising giant Dentsu, has enlisted 300 buses on major routes heading into the central business districts to carry the ads.

SBS gave BAM SSB a difficult brief--to recreate the elements of a TV commercial on an outdoor medium. Special bus sides show a moving goalie protecting his crotch from an incoming ball. The billboard, which is built in a special clear cylinder to create the optical illusion, is activated by the motion of the bus that sends the ball flying to its target.

The buses also feature a special mock loud speaker. Every time the bus doors are opened, a special sound box is activated from underneath the bus stairs. As passengers enter the bus they are greeted by the chant: "Here we go, here we go, here we go." BAM SSB Group Account Director Rob Turbiarz says: "The campaign is not designed to attract the soccer heads. The soccer heads will watch the World Cup no matter what. We are trying to attract additional viewers who are more interested in participating in a major world event.''

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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