Your client all over taxicabs
Think of them as floating billboards with multiple messages
August 5, 2012
Like billboards, taxicabs have long been a reliable form of out-of-home media that draw a large number of eyeballs.
For years the industry offered mostly basic options such as ads on taxi tops or the occasional wrapped cab.
But recently new options have emerged, including ads on glowing wheel covers and digital ads inside cabs that allow marketers to geo-target using GPS technology.
The older options also are still available and can be a relatively inexpensive way to reach large crowds of people.
To find out how to get your client on taxis, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising on and inside taxis.
Most markets have a handful of vendors that handle taxi advertising locally or regionally. Some vendors have deals in place with fleets in markets across the country so advertisers can execute national buys.
How it works
Taxis have two potential target audiences. The exteriors target pedestrians and other drivers, and the interiors target fare-paying passengers.
One emerging option for cab exteriors is glowing ads on wheel covers. The wheel covers are weighted so that they don't spin around with the wheel, and the messages on them are clearly visible when the cab is moving.
They can also be equipped with tiny generators that provide a backlight glow so the covers are visible at night.
A thin adhesive vinyl strip is placed on the bottom of the cab between the two wheels where the advertiser can put some explanatory creative, such as the name of the advertiser or the services being offered.
Other options for taxi exteriors include ads on top of the cab and vinyl wraps, either around the entire cab or just the side doors.
Recently there has been a push toward equipping taxi tops with digital signs, but that option isn't widely available yet.
For taxi interiors, some markets have cabs with digital touch screens that can be used to pay a fare with a credit card.
During the ride the screens run a roughly 15-minute loop of content, with 30 percent of that loop available for video ads. The touch screens also have space for clickable banner ads, and advertisers can set up microsites or sponsor games to keep passengers interested.
There are two advantages to advertising on screens inside the cab. First, the passenger is a captive audience who's likely to watch or interact with the screen. The screens can be turned off, but in New York only about 15 percent of riders do so.
Taxi advertising can be executed in any market with taxis.
There are slightly more than 13,000 taxis in New York City, and each averages 42 fares per day. Cabs in New York average 1.4 passengers per trip.
How it is measured
For digital ads inside the cab, drivers track and report the number of fares they take each day. Impressions and clicks are also tracked by the touch screen's ad software.
For exterior ads, street traffic and pedestrian data is used to estimate impressions.
What product categories work well
Recent or current taxi advertisers include entertainment, telecom, fast food, banking, TV networks, electronics and retail.
Among adult taxi riders in New York City, the biggest taxi market, 58 percent are female and 42 percent are male, according to Scarborough Research.
Thirty percent are ages 18-29, 32 percent are 30-44, 27 percent are 45-64 and 11 percent are age 65 or over.
Seventy-three percent have an annual household income of $35,000 or above, with 57 percent at $50,000 or more, 44 percent at $75,000 or more, 32 percent at $100,000 or more and 8 percent at $250,000 or more.
Making the buy
Lead time for exterior ads is typically four weeks. For digital ads on screens inside cabs lead time can be much shorter, as few as five to seven days.
Pricing also varies. CPMs for digital interior ads range from $18-$30, while CPMs for exterior ads are much lower, as little as $1.
Who's already been on/in taxis
Current or recent brands that have used taxi advertising include AAA, McDonald's, Metro PCS, Sprint, Puma, Old Navy, McDonald's, ESPN, Samsung and HSBC.
What they're saying
"You have in-cab advertising, where you have to get in the cab to view it. And with [exterior ads], the original intent was to catch pedestrians and other drivers. The benefit of being outside is you've got the highest impressions you can get. The buying industry is well aware of the impact of taxi advertising." — Bruce Sonneborn, chief executive officer at Street Media Partners
Web site info
Street Media Partners
Creative Mobile Technologies
Blue Line Media
Digital Dispatch Systems
Clear Vision Advertisement
Visions Advertising Media
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