What's in store for the Elizabeth Line's six brand sector partners

London's new high-speed rail service will present brands with the chance to take "full control" of their advertising because of technological advances on the network, Transport for London has claimed.

London's transport company will launch the tender process on 19 February for brands to bid for six exclusive commercial launch partnerships for the new Elizabeth Line service, formerly known as Crossrail.

TfL and Elizabeth Line station architects, Grimshaw Architects, gave brands a preview of the advertising units and opportunities yesterday.

The presentation, which included a VR experience, drew brand representatives from across sectors including Amazon, Google, Samsung, Burberry, Emirates, Lloyds Bank, BT, and Cadbury. 

"These stations are designed to ensure passenger wayfinding and advertising co-exist," Neill McClements, partner at Grimshaw Architects, said. "Some architects don't want advertising messing up their design. We've embraced it. We think it's a positive part of design, adding colour and vibrancy, particularly if it's located at strategic parts of the passenger's journey". 

However, the six commercial launch partners will gain more than a year of sector-exclusive advertising rights on London's newest underground line, Graeme Craig, TfL’s director of commercial development said. 

"These partners will have a chance to shape how advertising looks and works on these new stations. They will be part of a process that will redesign London and will change how the city looks, feels and functions," Craig said. 

These brands will also have the opportunity to create live activations and experiences, Harriet McDonald, head of commercial partnerships for TfL told Campaign. "And when the Tube maps change, these six brands will have their logo on every new map."

Further, as most of the inventory advertising units are digital, brands will also have full control over their presence, McDonald said. "Working with our exclusive media partner Exterion, they will be able to dial up or down their presence based on data like the time of day."

Brands need not be concerned that the project will be delayed or go over budget, Craig said. "The Crossrail project is over 90% complete. Yes it's a £14bn, £15bn project, and these things are always complex, but we're confident it will open on time in December this year."

The tender process

The highest bid would not necessarily win a brand partnership contract, McDonald shared. 

"The bid starts at £6.5m pounds, but when considering which partners to choose, financial considerations will account for only 80% of the decision. Their passion and vision for the project will count for 15% of the score and the final 5% will be how much they want to alter the contract," she said. 

The process will be utterly transparent and all final contracts will be publicly available, she said.

The tender process will close on 23 April, and submissions will be reviewed between April and May. The final partners will be announced in October. 


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