For advertisers with limited budgets, vehicle or transit advertising is not a novel concept. The idea of transit advertising began from developed markets where advertisers measured the effectiveness of the advertisement based on the estimate of impressions made. During the last few years, outdoor advertising has seen a phenomenal rise in Pakistan as various modest mediums have made their mark. Being a low cost medium, Rickshaw has gained immense popularity among the advertising community owing to its multiples benefits.
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Rise of Rickshaw Advertising
Official statistics released by the government of Pakistan in 2010, state that there are almost 100,000 registered rickshaws in Pakistan roaming around various cities. Most of the rickshaws are almost of the same shape and size with slight variations in their space and outlook. Recently, marketers have realized its benefits primarily due to low cost as compared to rising cost of regulated billboard advertising.
Looking at the cost, a Rickshaw driver charges a meager amount of Rs200-300 per month for its available space. Thus, if a marketer places its ad on 10 rickshaws, it will only cost Rs2000-3000 per month. Therefore, this medium is highly suitable for those with limited marketing budgets, mainly small businesses or service startups.
Keeping big brands aside, as they are highly concerned about brand image, rickshaw advertising has been used by a variety of products and service providers. Some of the diverse categories include retail outlets, political parties, religious events, herbal medicines, tutoring services, generators, office equipment, immigration services, real estate and even web hosting.
Big brands such as Ufone and ZONG have also used rickshaws while most of the high end brands have refrained from using this medium due to image concerns.
Inside The Box
Most of the marketers have utilized the outer space of the rickshaw but many have still left an important area untapped i.e. the inner space of a rickshaw. Many spaces of the outside and inside of a rickshaw are still unexplored. The inside of a rickshaw contains an integral part of marketing which is the customer itself. Since most of the communication strategies revolve around customer interaction, therefore a typical rickshaw ride can capitalize this interaction opportunity for a significant time period.
Rickshaw ride still has a lot to offer to the marketers as they can offer the customer to fill a form, read a leaflet or a text message and ensure maximum interaction. Nevertheless, voice or video interaction seems impractical owing to noise and lack of confined space in a rickshaw as there are no doors in the ride. However, one should be careful not to irritate the customer with unwanted marketing material, as customer interaction must not be forced.
To solve this issue, rickshaw drivers could be taken in the loop by providing them with relevant training. In order to achieve this task, a huge investment is required as one has to spend a large chunk of the budget to get a few minutes interaction with millions of clients.
Image issue is predominately a major concern for high end brands as rickshaw is perceived as a low end transit option. However, for mass marketed brands it is an interesting and low cost option if some investment is made on the overall look of the ride.
Tracking the effectiveness of the advertisement is also a grave concern as one cannot guarantee whether the driver is meeting the contractual agreements. Contractual agreements also include regular maintenance of the vehicle.
From the cost point of view, there is a remarkable difference as the cost of advertising 100 rickshaws is equal to the cost of putting a single ad on a high end billboard. So at the end of the day, it is a call that the business has to make… brand impression or visual impressions?