Monday, October 11, 2010

A tale of two cities. Observation #1: Melbournians wait at the traffic lights.

Since I am now officially a resident of the southern state I've decided to record my observations about the differences between the cities.

This is NOT a ploy to start a Sydney V Melbourne debate (afterall I am a lover of both). It is more to demonstrate that without immersing oneself in a market, it is difficult to truly understand the nuances and as such make sound media buying decisions.

So onto my first observation.

Melbournians wait at the traffic lights.

I have garnered a number of strange looks on the street since last Tuesday when I started working in Melbourne and I'm pretty sure that its not the result of having my skirt tucked into my undies.

Its because at a set of traffic lights, where the little green and red men reside, I generally just wait for a break in traffic and scoot across the road.

Locals however don't. They stand and wait politely.

Jaywalking it seems, is a no-no.

The implications on media
Aside from this being the 'right' thing to do and also taking me back to Berlin where jaywalking is a fineable offence and thus never done, it also made me realise that outdoor, particularly transit outdoor, has much greater value here in Melbourne than in Sydney.

Dwell times are longer because people actually stop and look around rather than whip their head from side to side like a teenage shoplifter about to be caught.

In addition, the trams, whilst a faster mode of transport than buses due to less congestion, actually seem to run a bit slower or maybe its that they drive in a straight line. Either way, the advertising on them is much clearer and easier to read that that on a moving bus. Yet another point to increase the value of outdoor in this market.

So that's it fro observation #1.... await with baited breath (which actually is a disgusting term and I think would smell quite fishy) for installation #2 of The Tale of Two Cities.

1 comment:

deb said...

Hi Lauren,

I randomly stumbled across your post, but feel totally compelled to comment because I'm also a recent syd-to-melb ad industry migrant and couldn't agree more!

The straighter streets are one thing I've noticed too... it seems to change the nature of outdoor here. You can see posters miles off. (Well, maybe not miles, but further than a block or so, as is usually the case in Sydney). I suppose this does increase dwell time, but also kind of means the outdoor needs to work on two levels, both close-up and far-away, and I wonder if that changes the nature of what works creatively. Whether there's more opportunity for subtlety, and whether the 8-words-of-copy-for-outdoor rule necessarily applies in the same way?

The other thing (perhaps related to the flatness of the landscape and the straight streets) is that there's much more of a culture of graphic communication on melbourne streets. Street art etc. Which means there's plenty to look at as a pedestrian / commuter ... plenty of other things completing for your attention... and most of it is a lot more interesting than an ad.

Strange how something as simple as urban design affects how a place communicates. It's fascinating stuff...