While I was driving today I saw a van with Progressive Auto Insurance painted on it. It was probably a company owned van, but I was also reminded of the Geek Squad Beetles that I see every once in awhile and some other company painted cars.
This got me thinking.
I noticed that paintings or signs on cars often get noticed. People even look at other people’s car license plates.
Basically, these cars get a lot of eyeballs.
The social media way of marketing offline
Applying my background in Social Media Marketing, I came up with a new marketing idea that is low cost but highly effective.
This is how it works:
A company creates a program, where they would advertise on the cars of people who commute long distances everyday.
They can pay a couple hundred dollars to these people every month to do the exact same things they would be doing anyway.
Heck, instead of paying money, this company could just offer to pay all their gas bills.
Social Media is about everyone being a publisher
I include this as social media marketing because the essence of social media is that everyone can be a publisher.
Instead of having large budgets to publish on a billboard, everyone has their own little properties (such as blogs) and they can reach their own little niche by publishing or advertising on their little properties.
I seriously think more companies should advertise on blogs because bloggers are easy to satisfy monetarily, and you seriously reach a large crowd who pay attention to you just because “Oh! This blogger found advertisers! I wonder how much is she getting paid. Maybe $50/month” “Oh, it’s the same company ad on this other blog too! They’re all over the place now!”
$100 to make 1000 people think you are all over the place. Not a bad deal.
So in this case, we’re taking the exact same principles but just applying it to an offline property, specifically one’s car, where we know already has a lot of eyeballs and follows where the customer goes.
A win-win situation in a bad economy
Especially in this economy, people are very stripped of cash and a lot of them would signup since it does not make their lives more inconvenient.
Gas price is expected to rise again, so a program offering to pay for their gas is a win-win situation because the driver would not be concerned of driving longer distances, while the company would gain more exposure for that.
If you have 200 of these cars driving around, with lets say about $200 per car per month. That’s $40,000 a month, which is the price of many billboards.
However, it’s convincing that each of these cars will be seen by AT LEAST 20 different people a day(I would say over 100 if the driver spends more than an hour a day commuting), so the total reach would become 20x30x200 = 120,000 per month. What’s even better is that these ads are guaranteed to be at where a lot of people are, since it’s the people themselves that are taking them there.
Potentials of getting some free press and word-of-mouth marketing
If your company is one of the first to do something like this, people will start to talk about you if they see the same promotion on 3-4 different cars while driving to work. The press might even cover you so there’s a lot of added benefits, making it even more cost effective.
Even the 200 people who wear your ads will excitingly talk to their friends and their coworkers about it, creating WAY stronger effects than just a billboard ad.
Also, what better way to make people’s day better than having them be cheerfully reminded of this everyday in the morning?
If you know you are making money off just driving, it makes you feel better about commuting, or even when you are stuck in traffic. (Note: for environmental concerns, please still commute when you can. I am referring to people that are already driving that distance no matter what.)
Make it easy for people to opt out and rely on honor codes
In terms of practicality concerns, it would probably be difficult have people’s cars painted, because they need something that they can be easily opt out from.
However, creating some sort of easily removed stickers and have a few on each side of the car should have the same effects with very low set up costs.
Sure, there might be some dishonest people who turn in the gas receipts of their spouses car too etc etc, but even if that is the case, the price of having these mobile ads is still excellent. Obviously it shouldn’t go way out of hand, but that’s easy to detect.
You could probably include in the contract that once someone is caught cheating, they need to return all the gas money that was every given to them because there is no way to verify how much did they cheat on. Fear of that and losing this good deal would probably stop most people from cheating.
The point is that you are getting a crazy promotion deal with a fraction of what it would cost you otherwise, and it makes the driver happy too.
If you refer back to my blogpost How to Impress Everyone by Just Driving Around, driving becomes ultra productive. You increase your level by learning from podcasts, and you get paid doing it!