Aarti Pahwa, New Delhi
The cost of billboard advertising is often perceived to be an expensive medium to invest in, and only available to brands with large advertising budgets. When Harsh Vardhan Mahipal was looking to venture into entrepreneurship, he was looking to tackle the problem of expensive outdoor advertising. For reference, on an average, a hoarding costs at least Rs 5 lakh per month while advertising on a foot-over bridge costs around Rs 8 lakh per month, says Harsh.
Breaking this myth was born TaxiTop Media, a Kolkata-based startup which gives time and location-based advertising to advertisers using digital screens that are mounted on top of cabs with economical costing.
TaxiTop currently has over 40 cabs in their network of digital in Kolkata with an inbuilt software that records information such as the time and place where the ads are displayed. The software also identifies the location the ad displayed for instance residential zone, corporate zone or commercial zone. Combined with key value pairings like time of day, weather and other live data, the vehicle top medium offers a dimension of targeting, unique to OOH. The content management software, when paired with the Digital TaxiTop Display, can report when and where each ad is played, and provide the impression metrics that marketers use to understand the ROI of their media buys.
The company also works on strategically placing car wraps on the exterior of vehicles, thereby providing a mobile advertising space. The pitch to drivers is that they can make 20% more income, passively, by mounting the wrap on their vehicles as they drive.
Since inception, TaxiTop Media has local brands based in Kolkata on board. However, inquiries from brands like Reliance Digital, Pantaloons, Westside and a few others, has shown some promising signs for the digital media.
Harsh Vardhan Mahipal, the founder of the company, says "OOH is going to be data driven and this is the right direction to move forward. At the same place, during a different time, the demographics would be different." With the right kind of data and technology, DOOH can tap into the right audience at the right time, and this is exactly what TaxiTop Media is striving to achieve. For this reason, the company is developing technology to target more data points which give a more accurate understanding of the demographics".
He further added, "We also offer tracking and monitoring of the cabs remotely and even control ads to be displayed when cabs are traveling through a particular area. A digital platform is flexible when it comes to offering packages as per the client's requirements. DOOH is able to target the audience in a more organized manner that no traditional media can offer."
Over the next three months it plans to enter Mumbai and is aiming to have a network of 500 screens and wraps across Kolkata and Mumbai by March 2020.
Taxi-top ads date from the 1970s. And digital ads on busses, trains and taxis have been around for some time as well. But the combination of digital OOH, programmatic inventory, dynamic geo targeting and precise measurement capabilities are something new.