afaqs!

An ad on your car will get you free petrol

By Dhaleta Surender Kumar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | September 03, 2008
With petrol prices on the rise, putting an ad on your car and getting petrol in return could be a good idea

After & #BANNER1 & # the Rajdhani Express trains, it is the turn of private cars to become moving billboards. Private vehicle owners can now get their cars registered on a site, cashurdrive.com, get an ad on their vehicles and get a petrol redemption coupon.

CASHurDRIVE claims to be India's first 'on-vehicle advertising' company catering to private vehicle owners. To start with, the company has launched its services in Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Panchkula (Haryana) and Mohali (Punjab). The company plans to launch the service in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well. More than 3,500 vehicle owners from the region have already registered on the website.

According to Raghu Khanna, chief executive officer, CASHurDRIVE, the idea was mooted on an Orkut community, Brand on Wheels.

Currently, the company is in talks with Coca-Cola, Nokia, Airtel and Alcatel. CASHurDRIVE claims that these companies have shown interest in taking up a couple of hundred cars for their advertisements.

Khanna says that although more than 10,000 cars have been registered with CASHurDRIVE, the service is yet to go pan-India. Speaking to afaqs!, Khanna says, "As I'm personally from Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), I wanted to test the service in the region. Though more than 300 cars in Delhi are registered with us, we haven't gone there as yet as Delhi is too fragile a market to handle."

In rural Punjab, CASHurDRIVE has tied up with NGOs (non-government organisations) such as Social Upliftment for Rural Folks, which have more than 5,000 sarpanchs registered with them. The company is targeting their vehicles, which include models such as Maruti 800 and Ford Endeavour, as well as tractors.

Raghu Khanna
In Punjab, local advertisers such as fertiliser, pesticide, real estate and water pumps companies and public health departments have tied up with CASHurDRIVE for advertisements. "We are also considering advertisements on wheelchairs to give the handicapped an extra source of income," Khanna says.

While wheelchair owners will be given Rs 1,000-1,500 a month for advertisements, car-owners can expect Rs 1,000-5,000 a month, depending on a number of factors.

Khanna says, "While registering, one has to provide information such as brand, make-year, colour, condition of the vehicle, distance travelled in a day, route taken and whether the vehicle is parked in a public area or in a garage. If a person is travelling more and parking the car in a public area, he is likely to get more money."

Advertising will be done through vinyl-wrapping, covering the four doors and leaving out the boot, bonnet and fenders. "The latter areas cause distraction for the drivers and we are taking care of that," Khanna says.

The vehicles will be fitted with a vehicle tracking system (VTS) through which clients can locate their advertisements. "VTS will not only help the advertisers to track their ads, but also help them chalk out marketing strategies to ensure maximum visibility."

Khanna did not divulge the financial details of the advertising arrangement. However, he reveals that he's earning 5-10 per cent as commission. On the legal issues, he says , "There is no law, as of now, which prevents private vehicle owners from advertising on their cars."

As for the tax implications, he says, "We are not paying the vehicle owners in cash. Instead, we've tied up with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL). We'll give redemption coupons to the vehicle owners, which can be used to buy petrol from affiliated petrol pumps."

Meanwhile, the IOCL and BPCL petrol pumps also work as check-centres to ensure that the vehicle owners haven't removed the ads. The stations will redeem coupons only for vehicles carrying the vinyl ads.

Khanna adds, "We have been talking to various state governments, some of which have appreciated the idea, considering the rising fuel prices. Also, it cuts down on hoardings."

Khanna is confident that the idea will work. He says, "The time spent on traditional media and manner to consumer connect is on the decline. Secondly, the only thing that's growing at 47 percent in India today is the number of vehicles."

The company received financial structuring worth Rs 1 crore from VC Hunt Global for the project.

The service will be promoted through online viral campaigns, social networking deployments and mobile campaigns. "Also, once on the road, the vehicles will speak for themselves. We'll have a small sticker of CASHurDRIVE on the boot of the vehicles," Khanna says.