03/06/2013 07:56 BST | Updated 03/06/2013 08:11 BST

London Underground 'Sponsored Tube Stations' Could Mean 'Burberry By Bond Street'

You could be meeting your friends for a shopping date at 'Burberry by Bond Street' tube station, or catching a fast train into 'Virgin Euston', if a proposed new money-spinner gets underway.

The Conservative group at the London Assembly have called for new sponsorship of Tube lines, bus routes and stations, the Marmite Metropolitan line perhaps, to keep fares frozen and raise around £136m in revenue.

The report, called 'Untapped Resource: Bearing Down On Fares Through Sponsorship', claimed 82% of Londoners were in favour of more sponsorship.

The mocked up tube map included in the report

The report includes mock-ups of Tube stations which say: "Knightsbridge: The Home Of Harrods".

The report, authored by AM Gareth Bacon, pointed out that Tube sponsorship is common in other cities like New York, Madrid or Dubai.

"There is a plethora of examples from around the world of public transport sponsorship schemes that go further than TfL are currently willing to.

"The Madrid Metro started down the path of sponsorship with a short-term deal to rename the Puerta del Sol station (Madrid’s equivalent of Oxford Circus) “Sol Galaxy Note”, in a three-month deal struck with Samsung to promote a new mobile phone.

Another mocked-up image of the tube station (Harrods is spelt wrong so as not to infringe copyright)

"A subsequent deal has recently been announced whereby an entire tube line – Line 2 - and the Sol station will be branded by Vodaphone, in a three-year €3m agreement.

"Station signs will be reprinted as “Sol Vodafone” and signs on the rest of the line will say 'Line 2 Vodafone'."

"It is easy to envisage naming deals that could improve way finding on the Tube," the report continued. "For example, if Harrods were to sponsor Knightsbridge station in some way, or if an airline was to sponsor underground stations at Heathrow, the opposite effect is possible: sponsorship could help people fi nd their destination more easily."

Graeme Craig, TfL's director of commercial development, told the BBC: "The mayor has in the past ruled out the renaming of stations, largely due to the cost of changing the thousands of signs and maps across the network.

"We already do deals short of actually renaming stations or lines, including giving over whole stations like Canary Wharf to advertising by one organisation.

"Every penny of this and our other revenue goes towards keeping fares as low as possible, while improving transport and supporting jobs and growth across the UK."

Would Richard Branson like to sponsor Virgin Euston?

Pete Champion, a director of brand consultancy I-Am Associates, said he thought brands would find the scheme very attractive: “From the brand point of view there are lots of wins and it allows brand to go beyond the traditional advertisement and engage with consumers in a more experiential way.

"Research on brand psychology shows that you get a much deeper and more embedded consumer engagement, and make subsequent recall more successful, when a brand is identified with an experience, like Barclays and cycling.”


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