Augmented reality campaign engages with “Sheerios” through public transit ads

Branded Ed Sheeran bus roamed the streets of Helsinki for two weeks, inviting travelers to play an augmented reality game to drive ticket and album sales, with the ultimate prize of free tickets and a meet-and-greet with Ed Sheeran himself.


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Ulkomainosyhtiö Laulava Ovipumppu Oy is Finland’s largest public transit advertising company. While this monster of a name gets somewhere lost in translation, it practically means that your business gets a lot of clients after running a campaign with them. As described by its Project Manager, Juska Matintalo, the company is in the business of getting new business and currently offers exclusive advertisement concepts across all the major cities in Finland, covering more than 3,8 million trips a week.


Catching up to the newest trends in customer engagement, 2019 saw the company bring its third public transport AR campaign to life. Delivering a project for Warner Music Finland, Overly teamed up with Laulava Ovipumppu to add a touch of augmented reality to a promo bus for Ed Sheeran’s upcoming concert.

Project overview


One fully branded Ed Sheeran bus took to the streets of Finland’s capital, Helsinki, covering thousands of miles over a two-week period before the star’s concert in the city. Inside the bus, every seat was branded with an interactive Ed Sheeran sticker. When scanned with the Overly app, it brought up an interactive menu with a Spotify playlist, album and ticket purchase options as well as a themed guitar hero game, featuring the star’s famous single with Justin Bieber “I don’t care”.

The AR stickers received hundreds of scans during the two-week campaign, but Juska emphasizes that kitting out just one bus means it was quite a small scale project. “The project was a bit of a test run for our collaboration with Warner Music Finland, but I think we pulled it off very well. We had a great strategy and we delivered it in a very short timeframe. What matters is that the client saw the end-result and they were absolutely thrilled about it and we are now planning to build similar collaborations on a larger scale. The client immediately expressed interest in a follow-up game with a new song and artist, which is exactly what we want to hear.”

Augmented reality feedback and ROI

Juska notes that whilst Ed Sheeran’s augmented reality campaign created a strong concept for future applications and the feedback was great, statistics are integral to establishing AR’s ROI. “We received hundreds of scans for the AR stickers, but it is also vital to be able to go in-depth with the scans. In our example tracking how many users played the game, how many purchased the tickets, albums or tuned into the Spotify playlist would provide great insight for what to include or exclude for the next promo campaign. And you cannot forget that the clients’ decisions are data-and-result-driven. It’s essential to offer a table of statistics for each operating system, how many individual players there were, how many sessions an individual had, etc. The Ed Sheeran campaign was the perfect opportunity to hone our cooperation with Overly, and I’m sure our next project will be awesome.”

Augmented reality public transportation ads for Ed Sheeran’s concert in Helsinki

Seizing the potential of augmented reality ads in fan engagement

Whilst public transport advertising has long been about mass marketing, AR creates more personal interaction and boosts engagement of ads that once may have seemed superficial. “I think the best value for your money is to introduce your product in a wrapper and make it interactive. You can have this product pop out through augmented reality and let people explore it in detail, which creates better-informed customers,” highlights Juska. “But it is still a developing technology and it is mine and my colleagues’ duty to really educate the client about the potential of AR. We also must position the augmented reality content in a context where the audience would be interested to view it and public transit advertising is a great platform for it.”

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