From simple decals to maxi branding and television networks, taxis as an advertising medium have become major players in the out of home game. Skhumbuzo Nkosi takes a look at the evolution of taxi branding.
Quantum taxis play a vital role in the lives of South Africans and with a huge proportion of the population having moved to urban areas, these hard working public transport vehicles have become an even more important marketing tool.
From the cradle to the grave, taxis are an integral part of our communities and it has been extremely interesting to witness how taxi branding has changed over the course of two decades. Taxi branding started with simple decals that could be applied to the sides and back of a taxi. Marketers soon realised that taxis were moving billboards that offered high frequency and penetration into specific areas. As more people moved to urban areas so did the demand for more taxis. With this came innovation in how taxis could be effectively used as marketing platforms. The application of creative became better and the decals were replaced with taxi wraps that fitted over the entire vehicle.
Taxi ranks were, and still are, a hive of activity. With this in mind activations were implemented in these high foot traffic zones and commuter classrooms, which educated consumers about a brand or service, had brand ambassadors taking brands directly to its target audience. Activations and commuter classrooms at commuter nodes are today still extremely effectual.
In South Africa millions of people travel in taxis every day. The average trip is around 35 minutes long, which means marketers have the opportunity to talk to this audience in a captive environment. With this in mind, in 2007 marketing was brought to the inside of taxis with Provantage Out of Home Media’s launch of in-taxi TV. By placing TV screens in selected taxis the company brought a whole new dimension to transit media. This addition to the mix created even more appeal for advertisers who were looking to utilise this form of communication for their brands.
In –taxi television evolved even further and in 2013 Provantage Out of Home Media launched TRANSIT.TV, a fully-fledged, national, state of the art digital television channel that airs in hundreds of taxis across South Africa as well as on high definition screens in taxi ranks, train stations and other intermodal transit nodes such as Park Station, where multiple forms of transport come together. With a monthly audience of over seven million viewers, the channel was set to dazzle and it did.
TRANSIT.TV has taken taxi advertising to a completely new level. It broadcasts to commuters in train stations on the concourse, in departure areas, food courts and on platforms. Within the rank and taxi environments TRANSIT.TV broadcasts at taxi rank lanes and inside Quantum taxis. The channel optimises the dwell time in viewing areas and further entrenches a brand and its messaging into the daily life of the commuter.
While the exterior of taxis was being optimised and high dwell times were being enhanced, branding on the interior of a taxi was being improved. In the past few years we have witnessed creative that fits seamlessly with the medium, using the form, size and environment to enhance the brand messaging.
Provantage Out of Home Media’s maxi branding was recently introduced to the marketplace with the JD Group taking advantage of this opportunity to brand 90% of every available surface on the interior of taxis, including the seats and panels. The result was phenomenal!
Over the space of two decades, taxi advertising has evolved, giving both advertisers and commuters an optimised experience. As much as 75% of the adult population is exposed to taxi branding, be it on the outside, on the interior or on screens inside a taxi or in a commuter node environment. For marketers wanting to reach this percentage of the population, taxi advertising remains an extremely cost-effective, highly successful media platform.
Skhumbuzo Nkosi is a director of Provantage Out of Home Media
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