ABX measures ads across all media types in the U.S. and internationally reaching geographical areas representing 90% of global media spend. This post is a part of our systematic review of good and bad ads for 2022 by Media Type. Today’s post focuses specifically on OOH TRANSIT Ads including BUSES and SHELTERS, SUBWAY and METRO venues, which were among more than 2,000+ OOH executions measured by ABX In 2022. Contact us here if you are interested in testing or learning more about OHH creative testing.

Can TRANSIT be a hidden Advertising gem for your Brand?

Transit advertising includes ads in and on the various locations provided by public transportation and vehicles. It includes advertising on buses, inside buses and on bus shelters at each stop, as well as ads on the outsides and insides of subways cars, trams, and metro stations. It also includes wrapped cars, the tops of taxi cabs, and in planes and at airports.

Transit advertising targets the riders, passengers, and by-passers for brand advertising. Its communication advantages include the fact that you cannot turn it off or flip the channel. Therefore, you are guaranteed a broad-based regional audience without relying on an algorithm, and there is an endless variety of sizes, locations, and creative opportunities for any advertising budget.

A Statista online Global Consumer Survey (link) predicts that the number of public transportation users in 2023 will return to pre-pandemic levels worldwide, driven by a growth in public transportation users in China and the return of users in the US, UK, and Japan. Looking at trips versus users in New York City specifically, February 2023 bus trips are back up to 33.2M and weekday subway are at 69.1M. These statistics double the 2021 levels, and each are back to 65% of their February 2019 levels (MTA Study link).

While the growth in audience numbers marks a huge opportunity, advertising Creative is a challenge. Looking at the ABX Index for advertising effectiveness levels across all forms of transit advertising, it is below scores seen in other OOH venues like standard billboards, in-store, building side spectaculars and new digital OOH media.

The challenge lies in simplifying creative for an audience that is very accepting of ads on public transportation, but they are generally more focused on getting to their destination than taking in their environment. Advertising on trams and buses has the highest acceptance of all forms of advertising surveyed. 97% of the respondents in a in Zurich, Switzerland study report they either like advertising on means of transport or that it does not bother them (DemoSCOPE survey of passenger and pedestrians link).

Responsive Advertising

Top US Transit OOH Ads of 2022 – Outside on the Streets

The ads featured below are among the top 15% of more than 2,000 OOH executions measured by ABX in 2022 and were selected for educational reasons as well as scores.

  • Outback Steakhouse Bus Shelter – ABX Index 121

Restaurants as a category, both Dine-In and Fast food (QSR), have historically dominated traditional billboards OOH. In 2022, the Restaurants category made its mark in Transit OOH creative, too. Part of this dominance is that OOH can be like in-store advertising for restaurants. Often a buyer will pass a purchase location at just the right time as they exit to their destination and can take immediate action.

Outback came in at #1 in 2022 transit ad scores with an overall ABX index of 121. The ad’s clear presentation of Brand (Outback Steakhouse) and Benefit (appetite appeal) served up delicious communication. The messaging outpaced the medium and the category with clear branding and delivery, clarity, and understandability of its message. Importantly, Outback was able to deliver a high Action score as the appetite appeal of the steak appears to reinforce the Brand’s excellent Reputation score at 154. Outback also has a very low Dislike score at 35. The ad did especially well among Men with a 125 score.

Outback Steakhouse Transit Ad
Outback Steakhouse Ad ABX Score
  • Clorox Subway Entrance – ABX Index 114

You may not instinctively expect our #2 Transit OOH to be in the household cleaning category but here is a Clorox brand ad at #2. Interestingly the ad has a very high Message score 121, outperforming both the outdoor medium and the category norms significantly. Looking into the data, that message score is driven by an outstanding Relevance score of 145. Clorox was able to recognize that while you do not necessarily use its cleaning products while on the go, post-pandemic public transportation users and non-users are highly attuned to germs these days. Killing germs is delivered clearly with strong brand association in this execution. Also, somewhat unexpectedly, the ad did much better among Men 127 than Females 102. Apparently connecting on “fighting germs” is more time/place appropriate Transit than whiter whites in one’s laundry.

Clorox Transit Ad
  • Spanish Language Ads – US
    • McDonald’s Bus Shelter – ABX Index 128 among Hispanic Audiences and
    • McDonald’s Bus Wrap – ABX Index 118 among Hispanic Audiences


Back to the appropriateness of the QSR category to OOH, here are two McDonald’s transit examples in Spanish language at a bus shelter and on a bus too. Both executions are super simple presentations of Brand (McDonald’s Breakfast), Benefit (Appetite Appeal), and Value (2 for . . .). While the bus side ad scored considerably lower than the shelter, it’s easy to see how the McDonald’s logo was only on the top part of the ad and not at all on the bottom. Regardless, these ads are strong examples of message clarity in any language.

These ads in Spanish were evaluated among a Hispanic-only audience, which can inflate scores up to 20%. However, even discounting that, these are strong bus stop and bus side executions. When the messaging is right and the Brand delivery is clear, transit creative can go anywhere. The bus side has exposure to drivers and passers-by as well as bus-riders, and the easy-to-read static bus shelter sign is even more effective. The high ABX Index is driven by a superior Reputation score of 154 (or 54% above norm), and an Action score of 160. The ad also has an extremely low dislike score, at 43. Its message outpaced the medium and the category for delivery, clarity, and understandability.

McDonalds Transit Ad
McDonalds Bus Ad ABX Score

Top US Transit OOH Ads of 2022 – Inside the Stations

  • Starbuck’s Transit Floor – ABX Index 115

As we move from the buses and signage outside to the messaging inside the subway/metro/train stations, we find a strong Starbucks’ ad literally on the floor. It got noticed. Perhaps due to its high Brand Awareness (95% of the respondents were certain or sure they knew the brand) or its clear messaging help or its placement (which perhaps made the ad a welcome relief from the mind-numbing experience of walking through subway stations). This Starbucks ad generates a strong Reputation score and a 132 Action score. This Action score is particularly impressive as viewers would have to remember to add this product to their grocery lists for their next shopping trip.

Starbucks Cold Brew Transit Ad
Starbucks Cold Brew Transit Ad ABX Score
  • Bauducco Subway Wall – ABX Index 114 (International: Brazil)

In Brazil, we find a seasonal ad reminding us to “embark on the best station of the year,” in “this Christmas of gifts” with Bauducco’s panettone cakes. The ad has an outstanding placement on the wall by the escalator and significantly outperforms both the Media and Category norms for Relevance (a score of 125) and Likability (at 129) with almost no Dislikes (a score of only 19). Anywhere you are in the world, what is not to like about chocolate cakes? Ninety-nine percent of respondents were certain or sure they knew the brand, driving a strong Reputation (119 score) and Action score (at 115).

Bauducco Transit Ad

Bottom US Transit OOH Ads of 2022 – Outside on the Streets

The ads featured below are among the bottom 2% of the OOH executions for 2022, and were selected for educational reasons as well as scores. 

  • Michelob Ultra “History” – ABX Index of 62

In 2022 Anheuser-Busch InBev brand Michelob Ultra launched a multi-channel effort to link the brand to the story of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, to show its support for women and non-binary athletes. The campaign included a :60 TV ad for a charity called Run Fund (link) and involvement in the New York City Marathon. There were three Transit ads and unfortunately each communicated only a part of the story. Riders and passers-by would need to already know the connection and have seen the TV spot, for any of their transit executions to connect and sell. We will focus on the ad entitled “History,” which is the start of the Kathrine Switzer OOH story.

As indicated, this ad relies on familiarity with other aspects of the campaign to make sense. The biggest weakness was poor message delivery/understanding with a dismal Message score of 48. The ad features a QR Scan, and while the “History” headline signals that Katherine Switzer did something noteworthy, there is no incentive given to inspire scan action. Bot surprisingly, the ad drives a low Action score of 66 (which was the highest of the three OOH executions). Despite the Brand’s egalitarian intention, the ad scored particularly poorly among women, a 53 score.

Michelob Ultra Transit Ad
Michelob Ulta Transit Ad ABX Score

Also, since the ad features people, the ABX Gender Equality Index™ (GEI™) (link) is also reported. The analysis often presents a richer picture of the ad’s performance. Unfortunately for Michelob Ultra, respondents did not believe that Kathrine Switzer was Presented Well (ABX 77 score), Respectfully (ABX 73 score), or as Role Models (ABX 78 score). Given that the campaign centerpiece is a female role model’s story, this is a major communication miss. It contributed to the ad being devoid of a benefit delivery and made a well-known Brand name mostly invisible, with only 69% of respondents who could recall the Brand.

On a related side note, the :60 TV commercial was also tested by ABX. It scored closer to the TV medium norm than “History” was to the OOH medium norm. However, like the OOH, the TV execution was below Alcoholic Beverage norm with an ABX Index of 98. Among the 22 Michelob Ultra TV spots that ABX evaluated in 2022, this was the fourth lowest scoring TV ad for the Brand.

Bottom US Transit OOH Ads of 2022 – Inside the Stations

  •  Nike Air Force 1 in the United Kingdom – ABX Index of 53

In this example from the UK, we are reminded that spending and presence cannot make up for ineffective creative. Nike Air Force 1 is among the most popular trainers in the UK. This is the transit campaign for the launch of their 2022 shoe releases.

A series of ads meant to dominate advertising in a metro station showed the Nike Air Force 1 shoe with a group of men representing the target audience. Nike was trying to communicate a hip style using the people, but the pictures don’t show the models wearing the shoes. There is no explicit Benefit or Value offered, just the assorted styles and a nearby retail location. This leads to an exceptionally low Message score of 42, well below both Media and Category norms. The ads have a low Likability score (65) and an especially high Dislike score (163).

Looking at the ABX Gender Equality Index™ (GEI), respondents did not see the models as well- or respectfully-presented. Respectful scores were 49 among women and 64 among men. The models are all men of color with no racial or gender diversity. This is an especially poor creative choice as the series of eight executions gave plenty of opportunity to depict a wide range of target audiences.

Nike Air Force 1 Transit Ad
Nike Air Force 1 Transit Ad ABX Score

Be on the lookout for more breakout OOH comparisons in upcoming ABX blog posts.

Written by:  Angela Jeffrey, VP Brand Management, ABX with contributions from Marc Rappin, former CMO of the Advertising Research Foundation.

For more information contact HERE.


Jeff Schamel

Vice President, Operations

Jeff Schamel Directs Operations for ABX with Experience from IPSOS and P&G

Jeff has more than 25 years of market research experience including project management, client service, operations, production and sales.

Before joining the ABX Senior Management team, Jeff was a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos, working with Procter & Gamble and other client assignments. Prior to that, he was Senior Project Manager for Opinion One, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s online, mall and other initiatives for eight years.

Jeff began his market research career with Cooper Research while participating in the Professional Practice Program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduating with his BS in Marketing and Management, Jeff led a team of data analysts as Group Manager at Matrixx Marketing Research (now Concentrix).

Jeff’s broad in-depth marketing research experiences enable him to bring a unique perspective to directing operations that creates effective and efficient environments to support a wide range of client activities.  Having come up in the industry alongside the advent and progression of online interviewing, he has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of conducting quality research resulting in meaningful results.

Jeff considers himself an amateur music historian and sports enthusiast, as well as a family man, who takes advantage of the many outdoor activities in his community including biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming.

Dr. Peter Moomaw

Co-Founder, Vice President, Development

Peter is the primary developer of operations technology and data analysis. As a chief visionary on the Research and Development team, Peter works to generate innovative ideas for the continued development of processes and protocols.

Peter brings 17+ years’ experience in software development in the market research industry. He was previously at Opinion One, where he was integral in the development of research software systems covering a number of areas.

Peter has a BA in Mathematics, a BS in Physics, and a PhD in Physics, all from the University Cincinnati.

Martin Geraghty
Martin Geraghty

Vice President, Client Services

Geraghty Brings Experience from Roper Starch, GfK, MRI and IPSOS to ABX

Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the market research space including business development, methodology, product design, operations, client service, analysis and sales. He is a member the ABX Management Group with both client-service and operational responsibilities. Before joining ABX, Martin held senior management positions at Roper Starch Worldwide, GfK, MRI (Mediamark Research) and Ipsos. At Ipsos, he managed client service covering all aspects of the research process including research design. He managed the development and implementation of several brand and advertising measurement programs across a broad range of business sectors, helping clients maximize marketing objectives and return on investment. Prior to joining Ipsos, Martin was Vice President at MRI and was involved in business development, day-to-day management and long-term planning and growth for syndicated and custom programs. He also developed and updated the organization’s operational infrastructure to bring new and improved measurements to the marketplace. Before joining MRI, Martin was a Vice President of Operations at GfK. He managed researchers developing programs to monitor and improve methodologies. He played a key role in overseeing profit responsibility of client programs. Prior to his role at GfK, he was Vice President of Research and Operations at Roper Starch Worldwide.
Michael Alf

Co-Founder Ocucom and ABX, Vice President, Software Development

Michael Alf Brings 12 Years’ Software Engineering in the Market Research Industry

Michael is one Founders of Ocucom, of which ABX is a division, and has over 12 years’ of software engineering experience in the market research industry. As a Lead Software Engineer with Ocucom, he brings a unique blend of a technological background along with hands-on market research experience. Michael specializes in providing custom software solutions utilizing Ocucom’s dynamic software platform to address unique client needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Prior to starting with Ocucom, Michael was a senior software engineer at Opinion One in Cincinnati, where he was one of the principal architects of the OASIS 2 Survey Software Package. He also played a key role in developing a licensable solution to bring to the market place as well as handling the logistics of on-site training and support of end-client users.

Michael obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Greg Tunstill

Co-Founder, Chief Information Officer

Greg Tunstill Leads the Creation of ABX Communications Tools

Greg Tunstill, a founder of ABX, is the Chief Information Officer responsible for ABX’s technical infrastructure and maintenance. He also leads the design and development of ABX’s communications tools, a critical component of its technology services.

Prior to joining ABX, Greg was Director of Network Operations of Opinion One since its inception in 1992. He designed and developed the communications systems that were the core of its data collection networks and was responsible for continuing development and implementation of information technologies. Prior to his position at Opinion One, he designed inventory control and expert systems for BellSouth field offices and worked as a consultant and independent contractor. In 1991 he joined Americom Research as a systems engineer where he advanced to Director of Network Operations and met members of the team that formed Opinion One.

Greg is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Julian Brown

Chief Technology Officer

Julian Brown is an ABX Founder and Chief Visionary for Strategic Planning

Julian brings 20+ years of software engineering and market research experience to ABX. As one of the Founders and in his position as Chief Technology Officer, Julian is the chief visionary responsible for strategic planning and development.

His primary day to day roles include management of software development, oversight of survey production, and lead architect for custom software development projects. As the principal technology architect, Julian adapts emerging technologies for use in market research. He is responsible for maintaining the “continuous development” philosophy.

Before becoming one of the Founders, Julian was Vice President, Software Engineering at Opinion One. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and development of Opinion One’s core technology and licensing products.

Prior to Opinion One, Julian worked for Americom Research, starting as a Software Engineer and progressing to Director, Software Development. While at Americom Research, Julian pioneered the design and creation of one of the market research industry’s first fully interactive computer-aided interviewing suites.

Julian received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University.

Gary Getto


A Pioneer in Measuring Across all Media Types

Gary has an extensive background in product development, strategic planning, and sales/marketing. He is a frequent speaker to the advertising, marketing, and public relations communities.

Gary is a pioneer in efforts to measure and analyze the combined impact of news coverage, social media, and advertising communications on key business metrics, such as sales or product preferences, with ground-breaking work linking communications activity to business outcomes. He was also one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to better understand how communications impacts consumer behavior.

As part of these pioneering integrated measurements, the need to benchmark every ad and build a comprehensive database of advertising performance metrics for evaluating all advertising creative became clear. Gary has been part of the ABX management group that developed the methodology, technology, and criteria for measuring advertising performance globally, and at scale, in an affordable manner. 

Now Gary and all ABX partners work with communications leaders across a diverse set of industries to expand that understanding by incorporating the first-ever Gender Equality Index™, creative measurement solutions for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out-of-country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit™, Gaming, Audio and more.

Gary holds a B.S., in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.

J. J. Klein​

Chairman & CEO

Developing Valid and Reliable Information through Syndicated and Custom Research

JJ Klein has devoted his entire career to developing more valid and reliable information through syndicated and custom longitudinal research programs for Fortune 500 companies. This extensive knowledge base enabled him to create and develop ABX, which now offers the most accurate normative database for advertising effectiveness measurement in the marketplace.

JJ brings more than 35 years of marketing, research, consulting, and technology experience in designing and developing methodologies and programs for long-term growth. He has exceptional strength in domestic and international new business development, strategic planning, and identifying and tracking consumer, retail, and industry trends.

Leadership in Top Global Research Firms

Early in his career, after attending City University in New York as a math and science major, JJ joined Simmons Market Research Bureau as a Project Director. Over time, he rose to Associate Executive Vice President. Among his accomplishments, JJ created the first online interactive data analysis and delivery system for agencies, media, institutions, client, and service companies.  

JJ and Bill Simmons then founded a new venture …Three Sigma Research Center. It was here that JJ, Chief Operating Officer, created the first major syndicated rating system for Newspapers in the U.S., which later became the Scarborough Report. Three Sigma Research was eventually sold back to Simmons; Simmons sold it to Scarborough; and then Scarborough was acquired by Nielsen.

Following the sale of Three Sigma, JJ joined Audits & Surveys Worldwide as a principal leading the sales tracking and market share audits for a broad range of retail and service establishments both domestically and internationally. Following the acquisition of Audits & Surveys by GfK, JJ joined Roper Starch as Executive Director, reporting directly to the Chairman.

Creation and Development of Ocucom™ and ABX™

In 2004, as he continued his industry visionary travels, all of JJ’s experience came together as he tackled new solutions for market research in the Internet age. He and four partners founded Ocucom™ and invented a research-proven, respondent-oriented Ocular™ approach to internet sampling and multi-modal interviewing methodology. For the first time, respondents could answer text-based questions within a visual communication world where the computer screen was the interviewer/communicator. Inventions continued such as Ocucom’s PreCast™, the first long-form video viewing solution in the industry.

Also, during this time, JJ’s early leadership in internet research methodology caught the eye of top-tier global research competitors. He ended up designing methodologies for their online survey capabilities.

Then, in early 2012, he formed ABX™ as an outgrowth of Ocucom. JJ had conceived the idea for ABX some 15 years prior but had to wait for internet maturation and online panel/sampling companies to evolve. ABX partners focused on JJ’s ABX concept and methodology by building an infrastructure and a 5-year formative database before opening to the market in 2018. The new company offered the first high-quality Ocular research system for all ads in all media types with detailed, never-before analytics; the first syndicated, all-media type ad effectiveness platform; results in 24-to-48 hours on dashboard, and significantly lower costs. At ABX, as at Ocucom, inventions have continued such as the expansion of the ABX syndicated program into the first-ever global solution, and the first Gender Equality Index™. Solutions have expanded to include creative measurement for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out of country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit, Gaming, Audio, and more.

A Career Devoted to Validity and Reliability in Market Research

JJ’s background brings together an extremely unique blend of extensive experience in designing and developing global and regional longitudinal research programs. His accomplishments include the design and initiation of programs and methods that produce more valid and reliable information. They also include contributions to the market research profession through association membership, speaking, writing, and presenting.

Like Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for Radio, and MRI for Magazine, JJ’s original design for the newspaper program continues as the Scarborough Report ratings standard for Newspaper.  Today, JJ leads ABX as a syndicated and custom research service for ad effectiveness and gender equality, which have quickly become the gold standards of their own.

Angela Jeffrey, APR

Vice President, Brand Management

National Award-Winning Veteran of Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing

Angela is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising and marketing.  She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising.

Angela is primarily responsible for all ABX marketing efforts, and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. She is the primary driver of our collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Public Relations as we develop methods to measure the impact of PR and social media on advertising effectiveness.

Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight, (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse that specializes in predictive modeling. Angela continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage, with Gary Getto, the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising.

Angela graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Journalism and BBA in Marketing.



Diane Light Waight

Vice President, Business Development

Diane Light Waight handles Sales, Business Development, and Marketing for ABX

Diane has 20+ years of experience helping Marketing, Advertising, and PR decision-makers at global brands, media companies, and agencies increase their ROI by connecting and authentically engaging their target customers through Sales, Business Development. MarTech, AdTech, Big Data, Market Research, SaaS, eCommerce, and Integrated Marketing.

She is passionate about her family, entertainment, health & wellness, empowering women, and environmental sustainability.