Taxi Media Middle East

As Taxi Media Middle East accelerates towards launch, Team TMN catch up with Managing Director, Brett Pearson, to find out more about the region’s newest advertising platform…

When was Taxi Media Middle East established?
The company was formed in Twofour54 in March 2013 after being awarded the contract for Abu Dhabi by TransAD (The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi). This had followed six months of presentations and bidding to win the contract.

What does Taxi Media Middle East do exactly?
We provide in-taxi entertainment and advertising for passengers travelling in the back seat of a taxi. The units are installed in the back of the headrest and have an interactive touchscreen display.

What territories will you cover?
Initially Abu Dhabi Emirate as our franchise partners have bases in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. We are also in advanced discussions for Dubai, Sharjah and Qatar currently.

What makes you different to the options already available in taxis in the region?
The only taxi advertising currently available is the traditional external wrap-around, which is only available in Dubai, as Abu Dhabi do not permit external advertising. What makes us truly different is we have a fully quantifiable captive audience and can adapt creative executions more quickly and cost effectively than any other Out-of-Home platform.

For example, Subway have recently used the external taxis in Dubai to promote their “Sandwich of the Day”, but how do consumers know what sandwich is on offer on any given day? These adverts are generic. With our system they could – and have elsewhere in the world, winning a Mobius Award for the execution – actively promote every day’s specific sandwich. This allows our clients to be highly targeted with their advertising to maximise their ROI.

When will the advertising platform roll out?
We soft launch in December for communication system testing with Etisalat, and then the first phase will roll out in January 2014.

What languages will the advertising platform be available in?
We will initially offer English and Arabic as standard to clients, but the beauty of our system is we can technically host any language that does not involve a three-tier alphabet – Hindi for example, as this causes some programming issues. If you look at the top 10 nationalities that visit the UAE, we can host nine of the 10, if required.

Why is this advertising option more effective than traditional print advertising or broadcast?
There are several reasons, but first and foremost, audience size. On full fleet exposure we would deliver a monthly audience of nearly 10 million eyeballs just in Abu Dhabi; to put that into perspective the monthly figure for Facebook or Google in the whole of the UAE is roughly 3.3 million.

Next comes cost – we are extremely cost effective as we are a fraction of the current rate for taxi advertising on a rate card-to-rate card basis. The reason for this is we do not have high production costs eating into a media budget. If you are a venue looking to promote a restaurant or sporting event or concert, our monthly rates are comparable with current listing magazines’ weekly costs whose number of sold copies are a couple of thousand compared to our seven figure viewing stats.

But undoubtedly, one of the best arguments for using our system, besides the previous reasons, is full accountability. Because our system is touchscreen, every single interaction is logged and we will be sharing this data with every client regardless of how big their campaign is, so they can accurately judge whether we are offering great ROI or not.

How much does it cost?
It depends on what you want to do but every single option is extremely cost effective when compared to alternative media offerings. There is an affordable option for every size of business, from your local restaurant right up to a global FMCG brand.

How can you track the success of advertising campaigns for clients?
As the unit is coordinated with the taxi meter, we know exactly how many journeys are done by each taxi everyday and how long they last. Each individual interaction with the unit is logged so we can give accurate data on how many people have seen an advert, interacted with a brand icon, played a game, downloaded a discount voucher, completed a survey or entered a competition. Think of your computer keyboard and every time you hit a key think of that as an interaction on our media unit and our system automatically logs each and every touch.

What else can we expect to see from TMME in the near future?
Well, our core business is engaging customers with brands via taxis in a fun and useful way and we have expansion plans across the UAE and further within the MENA region. But to compliment the Taxi Media units we will also be launching a City Living App so that for no extra cost to clients we offer a continuation of their promotions outside of the taxi cab environment.

How can advertisers get involved?
That part is easy, interested parties can contact myself, / 055 822 4829 or Stuart Matthewson / or 050 558 8467. We are both happy to go through all of the options available.

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