Remember when needy students painted VW beetles with rock station ads to raise cash? Those moving billboards were ahead of their time. On Mar. 1, city buses blanketed with a single advertisement began navigating the streets of San Francisco. A new vinyl material covers bus windows--and everything else--while letting the driver and passengers see out.
An eyesore on wheels, some complain. But such ads have been done in Africa and Europe for years. PepsiCo, perhaps hoping to become to buses what Goodyear is to the blimp, has contracted for one year to shrink-wrap or paint 10 vehicles in four cities with ads for its see-through Crystal Pepsi. It will pay an estimated $900 a month per bus, three times the cost of traditional sideboards. And the response among most bus drivers and riders has been positive. Well, not negative, anyway. "At least it's better than graffiti," says one downtown rider.