Indian Railways to auction branding and advertising rights of trains

NEW DELHI: The next time you board a Dehradun or Lucknow Shatabdi, it might be wrapped in Patanjali Ayurved signage and be called the Patanjali Shatabdi. Indian Railways will start mega auctions for the branding and advertising rights of over 1,000 of its trains from next week to monetise its existing assets.

Brands vying for these five-year contracts include Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved and e-wallet giant Paytm.

SK Tijarawala, spokesperson for Patanjali, confirmed to ET that Patanjali was willing to use trains for its advertising and brand reach. “We are interested in buying these rights,” he said.

Patanjali, which has a portfolio of 350 products ranging from biscuits to shampoos, is among the top advertisers in the country. Brand experts say advertising through the railways will provide unmatchable visibility.

“Advertising through railways is much cheaper than outdoor advertising. Railways transport 2 crore people every day and the brand reach is much more than other mediums,” said a senior executive at a media buying firm that will be participating in the auction that starts next week. The technical bids for auction will start on Wednesday and go on for a month. Paytm did not respond to ET’s email.

The auction will include the sale of branding and advertising rights on Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi, Garib Rath, superfast, express, suburban and even freight trains. Rights for ad space inside trains will be auctioned separately. The railways is eyeing revenue of Rs 1,000 crore annually through long-term contracts for trains. The railways will also start auctions for another ad vehicle — Radio Rail, an onboard entertainment system.

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