The spring of 2004 saw the beginning of Clear Channel’s serious collaboration with SL for a series of outdoor branding projects, making use of some of their underground carriages. This had been on the cards for quite some time, but for a number of reasons, had always been knocked back previously – primarily for fire safety reasons.
That autumn, Brand Factory was entrusted to work alongside Clear Channel to present their solution that satisfied the functional requirements in regards adhesiveness, detachability, durability and any environmental issues that were raised, as well as safety related issues. The material used needed to unconditionally satisfy those requirements and specifications relative to railway safety, which often involved working in underground situations. This meant the development of a material that had never been seen before.
As world-leading developers and global suppliers of high-quality wrapping material, 3M and their armada of researchers, taking on such stringent requirements and working in tandem with efforts in Stockholm, had just developed such a material in their laboratories. The material was PVC-free and satisfied all of SL’s safety and practical requirements. In addition to this, the material offered good production qualities, and effective assembly and disassembly capabilities. These coincidences were naturally crucial for the project’s further development.
By mid-December that year, the first of many fully-wrapped underground carriages premiered in the tunnels and stations of Stockholm’s underground system. Aftonbladet, always keen to be the “First with the latest”, was the first customer to take advantage of this new branch of advertising mediums, creating broad media-buyer acceptance in the process. Shortly thereafter Stockholm’s tube was awash with the colourful creations from, among others, Heinz, Puma, Sony, Ericsson and Eniro; creations that really stood out in the media clutter.
The total external surface of an underground carriage measures about 300 square meters and takes approximately 80 man-hours to complete. Only fitters with special training are allowed to carry out the demanding and time-critical work, invariably carried out on weekends, when traffic is not as intense as on weekdays.