Ask any borough commuter about the benefits of the Staten Island Ferry and they’ll tell you that the perks are many: Offering expansive views of the Manhattan skyline, the leisurely 25-minute ride across the New York Harbor runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the 5.2 mile trek is completely free. Shuttling more than 90,000 passengers per day, the ferry is one of the borough’s preferred methods of transportation for residents and tourists alike. Which is why David and Teresa Rampulla use the ship and its surrounding terminals as a clever vessel for advertising.
“The Staten Island Ferry is basically the gateway to our borough,” noted Teresa Rampulla, who together with her husband David operates Ferry Ads, an advertising agency that sells ad space on the boats and in the terminals, including bus tubes and ramps. “Whether you’re visiting or commuting, it is the entry point for tens of thousands of people on a daily basis. And for 25 minutes we have a captive audience for each and every one of our ads.”
The company, which has been in existence for 31 years, focuses on a local audience that has the largest per capita income in the city. And based on area statistics and lasting impressions, Rampulla says local businesses shouldn’t ignore the buying power of Staten Island Ferry commuters.
“Staten Island Ferry advertising gives you the most bang for your advertising dollar,” Rampulla said. “Your prospects are in close proximity to your message, and we have 25 minutes twice a day to capture everyone who travels on the Ferry.”
Featuring ads from local businesses like our Island Hospitals, Casale Jewelers, St. George Theater, restaurants, auto dealers and Empire Outlets, as well as other national and international businesses, Ferry Ads displays their clients’ campaigns on the boats, in the terminals and in several key locations in downtown Manhattan.
“The Ferry has become a destination, not just a commuter hub,” Rampulla said. “There are beer gardens and farmers markets and fantastic views of the skyline. Chemistry.com rated it one of the top 10 places for a first date in New York City.”
It’s basically a floating art gallery too, Rampulla said, describing the artwork that is carefully dispersed between her clients’ poster-sized ads.
“Each of our ads is very tastefully displayed amidst some very artful photography that was taken on the ferry,” Rampulla said. “So we’ll have an ad campaign presented right next to a black and white of a ballerina on the observation deck. It’s a stellar mix of art and advertising.”
And Ferry Ads is not the Rampullas’ only advertising business: Three years ago, they opened She Media NY, LLC to address the needs of the M/WBE community. They serve various NYC agencies and manage projects receiving public funding wishing to do business with M/WBE vendors.
But their focus at Ferry Ads remains on that commuter hub. They are currently adding new Zippertron signage in Whitehall terminal and proudly boast the largest billboards in downtown Manhattan. The agency is also concentrating much of its energy on reaching the thousands of new riders coming to Staten Island to experience the St. George revival.
“It’s a wonderful addition to the borough,” Rampulla concluded. “And it’s going to place tourists in Staten Island for an extended period of time. There’s so much going on in Staten Island right now — it’s a very exciting time for our clients and for borough residents.”