Commercial vehicles that have pan-India permits are a great mode of marketing and branding. Due to their innate advantage of traversing diverse geographies, this mobile OOH medium spreads awareness about goods and services in regions that are inaccessible by most advertising channels. In this way, a vehicle which was used for the single, plain-vanilla purpose of logistics can be used to make a brand statement. An instance we have seen for years are trucks carrying soft drinks that always feature cola advertisements. Every time this truck travels to some distant part ofIndiaand moves deeper into villages, it serves a two-pronged purpose. Consumer-facing companies, in particular, can optimise their logistical expenditure by enabling their vehicles to advertise their offerings.
For years, Maruti Suzuki has been the undisputed king of Indian roads. In recent years, however, the company has become increasingly competitive to fortify itself against increasing global onslaught. To retain its premier place, the company has resorted to wooing rural India. Recently, at a town 370 kms northwest of Delhi called Amritsar Kalan, the company’s converted truck, accessorised with an LCD TV, split ACs and push-back chairs, attracted a throng all interested to watch the company’s beguiling ad-film. With a simple story and identifiable characters such as a villager who is convinced to purchase a WagonR due to its many virtues, the ad-film is an effective means to tap the functional and emotional aspirations of this class of clientele.
With this on-wheel initiative Maruti Suzuki was looking to tap farmers of Nagpur’s oranges, Tamil Nadu’s turmeric, West Bengal’s potatoes and Himachal Pradesh’s apples and fruits, in addition to Hyderabad’s granite polishers, Jaipur’s blue pottery makers and Bihar’s Madhubani painters. In this way, several measures by the company to reach rural India has helped the company increase rural share in sales from 3.5% five years ago to 26% in FY 2012.
Similarly, SBI’s ‘Bank on Wheels’ is a concept launched in a number of states including Kashmir and Karnataka, with a fleet of more than 100 vehicles. The idea behind this is to penetrate remote areas where financial inclusion is deemed to be most difficult. The bandwagon visits 4-5 villages twice a week and its employees ease the account opening process for villagers in a bid to sign up as many customers as possible. In due course, it has been realised that financial inclusion, among the most pressing concerns of our economy, can greatly benefit from such concepts.
In the area of advertising, the concept of car wrapping has gained popularity.Eye-catching wrappings for cars, vans and trucks make an attractive and incredibly cost-effective form of advertising. In metros, several prepaid cab companies display ads on their backs or sides. Innovators, the likes of CashUrDrive, revolutionised the vinyl vehicle advertising space. On its inception in August 2008 the company employed this medium in an innovative way by using private cars to promote its client Bonn Bread in Shimla,North India’s hill-station town.
Due to its terrain, Shimla isn’t the ideal destination for OOH, and there aren’t many cabs for on-vehicle advertisement either. Thus, CashUrDrive came up with the idea of engaging private car owners through their innovative campaign. It invited private car owners to offer their cars for promotion by partially or fully wrapping them with advertisements, in exchange of a reward. The reward included prepaid fuel cards to be used at HPCL and BPCL pumps. To ensure full realisation of this medium for advertisers, only cars driven 80 kms a day could register, while random checks were conducted to ensure that the wrappings remain pasted. Heavy weights like Tata, Reliance and the Virgin group had already advertised on this medium which is seeing several newer players such as Adometer and Ads on Wheels. With these efforts vehicle advertising is set to gain momentum as a dynamic new form of OOH, set to grow exponentially inIndia’s expanding consumer market.