Transit Stations Under Wraps

Burton Imaging's output work dominates in Miami.

In Miami, FL, with its colorful cityscape and eclectic sights and sounds, boring, everyday ad campaigns will, at best, fade into the background-and at worst, never be noticed at all. So how to quickly capture the attention of the passersby soon to be met by the next distraction? Plastering graphics on every inch of available ad space in high-traffic areas in the city’s transit stations is one way to go. In other words, launch a "station domination."

Miami-Dade Transit stations, the public transit authority in Miami-Dade County, house several of these campaigns throughout the year. In the last quarter of 2006, Philadelphia-based Burton Imaging Group produced nine of these attention-demanding promotions for four Miami-Dade stations including Miami South, Dadeland North, Dadeland South, and Government Center (the hub of Miami-Dade Transit travel). The range of applications for each campaign comprised wall and floor graphics, light boxes, and header signs, and two of the stations-Dadeland North and Dadeland South-also featured column graphics as well.

These nine installations-completed for two Florida-based clients, AvMed Health Plans and Jackson Memorial Hospital-were passed on from CBS Outdoor to Burton Imaging, a company that has had 15 years experience in producing transit graphics and has executed work for CBS Outdoor transit markets across the country. "We’re very involved with CBS Outdoor, and we probably do 75% of the work that is done on transit in Miami-Dade County," says Scott Segen, Burton’s CEO.

Domination creation
Designed by the clients’ ad agencies, the digital files for the "station dominations" were handed off to Burton by CBS Outdoor. Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, the shop tweaked the files as needed. "There was minimal manipulation [to the files]," says Segen. "What was done primarily was rescaling and resizing files to get the most advantageous and aesthetically pleasing looking image."

PDF proofs of the images were sent to the clients’ ad agencies and CBS Outdoor for approval. Any necessary physical proofs were printed on the same material to be used for final output at one-third the size of the final image.

While the sheer number of ads and graphics that a station domination employs is bound to catch a person’s eye, an interesting application of those ads will do so all the more. The dozens of cement columns lining the train platforms at Dadeland North and Dadeland South provided just such an opportunity.

The Burton Imaging design team and Rob Shilling, general manager of the transit displays division in Miami for CBS Outdoor, decided to wrap a total of 41 columns between the two stations for an AvMed promotion, the first project of its kind to be installed at these locations. "The columns were the only things installed at these stations," says Segen. "The quantity of them...created a very domineering presence for the advertiser."

Using both of its HP Scitex Turbojet printers with HP Scitex inks, Burton printed the column graphics on FLEXcon Flexmark Bilbrd BWS RTS vinyl film. Printed in two sections, the column graphics measured 6 ft in circumference x 11 ft high. Burton Imaging produced an excess of 2700 sq ft of column graphics between the two locations, and printing of all the columns took four hours. The columns were finished with a protective film laminate applied with a GBC Orca III laminator.

The primary difficulty in this project was in the installation of the graphics, says Segen. He explains that the graphics had to be rotated from column to column "so the advertiser’s message could be clearly read from anywhere on the train platform by all the riders." Installation was completed by three Burton Imaging employees in 24 hours.

Campaigns utilizing a number of applications were also installed at the Miami South and Government Center stations. The numerous wall graphics printed for these projects, imaged on Flexcon’s Flexmark Bilbrd BWV RTS vinyl film, varied in size with the largest measuring 5 x 40 ft. Large circular floor graphics also were produced-including a smiley face of bright yellow vinyl, whose familiar grin spread more than 20 ft (in diameter). All of the floor graphics were printed on Flexmark V 400 F White Opaque A-109 90 PFW and finished with Flexmark OV 600 Frosty Clear Safari V-29 71B PMO-8 overlaminating film. Several backlit graphics also were produced to be installed in clock fixtures, measuring 2 x 5 ft, and printed on Flexcon’s Litecal 5200 translucent vinyl. In all, each of these "dominated" stations displayed approximately 10,000 sq ft of graphics.

On average, each campaign was completed in 4 to 5 days-from receiving the files to installing the graphics. Total printing time for the projects averaged about 4 hours, reports Segen, while a greater deal of time was used to prepare the files for printing as well as to finish and install. The installation for each project was completed in approximately 10 hours by four Burton Imaging employees.

Outdoor brings the heat
Each campaign was installed for approximately one month, undoubtedly noticed by thousands who may not have been as easily reached by other forms of advertising. Says Shilling, "In an advertising world that has become extremely fragmented, out-of-home advertising has become the only true mass media. Cable TV, the Internet, TiVo, to name a few, have allowed the public to make themselves unreachable. Outdoor [advertising], with its intrusiveness, reaches people on the move who are spending more and more time out of home," and he adds, can be "geographically or demographically targeted to specific groups."

As these campaigns continue to grow and evolve, Burton Imaging expects to do the same-literally and figuratively. In addition to relocating to a new 60,000 sq ft facility and expanding its lineup of equipment, the company is also always aiming to develop and enhance its services. Referring specifically to transit-graphics production, an on-going challenge, Segen says, is to continue "to strive to constantly improve our product and the technology we use to produce it."