Taxi Advertising in the Multichannel Marketing mix

Andrew Barnett, managing director of taxi advertising firm, Ubiquitous discusses developments in the field and innovations that can be expected in the coming year.

Despite the anticipated uplift from the Olympics, 2012 looks to be another year in which marketers find themselves having to pick and choose tactics that balance marketing objectives with budget restraints. Extracting the maximum value from the minimum outlay will be the order of the day again, combined with the need to reach audiences via a number of easily integrated channels such as social, video, mobile and online.

However, the attractive low entry cost of these channels often means that proven channels such as traditional Outdoor can be too quickly dismissed and in doing so, marketers might be missing a trick.

Of the myriad of Outdoor formats that are available, taxi advertising is one that truly works hard to spread your message around town, in a way that no other Outdoor can; delivering great urban infiltration for brands and easily integrating with online via the mobile platform; after all, ‘outdoor’ people are so often also ‘online’ these days.

The black cab is one of the UK's most recognisable icons, with a design that is famous the world over. Since the mid-eighties it has provided a creative, eye-catching and highly-polished platform for brands to engage UK consumers. In fact, this year more than ever we will see a resurgence in this well established medium, as marketers look to harness its iconic status with its ability to ‘spread the word’ among an Olympic audience.

The forthcoming Olympics will create opportunities for brands to engage with the huge number of consumers taking to the streets of London and other UK host cities, over the course of 2012. The UK’s iconic black taxi offers the perfect means for advertisers to be ‘in the throng’ of this audience, grabbing attention and acting as a superb brand reminder, be it stand alone or as part of an integrated campaign.

The broadcast benefits of taxi advertising are just half the story though; let’s not forget that people spend on average 17 minutes in a taxi and, despite the relative expense involved, our research shows that those who do dip into their pockets to take a taxi, are prepared to do so up to three times a month (sometimes more!), making the taxi interior a media opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.

Furthermore, innovation and new technologies within black cabs will optimise one-to-one passenger engagement even further. This could be through a simple idea such as QR codes, or a more progressive tactic such as NFC marketing; we’ve already seen sponsored mobile phone charging facilities and Wi-Fi, and in 2012 mobile and card payment facilities will establish themselves in taxis.

Having a carefully considered and integrated multichannel marketing strategy will of course provide the foundation for a successful campaign. But by taking a fresh look at well-established formats such as taxi advertising, marketers may find a broadcast and one-to-one solution which is already in itself ‘integrated’, iconic and importantly, effective at propagating your message.

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