Meru Cabs shows red signal to driving after drinks

By Tarana Khan , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 13, 2008
The company has tied up with restaurants and pubs to encourage people to call for cabs after drinks

Meru & #BANNER1 & # Cabs, the taxi service operating in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, has launched a promotion in New Delhi to encourage people to call for a cab instead of driving after drinks.

For the 'don't drink and drive' promotion, Meru Cabs has identified four TGIF (TGI Friday's) pubs and 160 restaurants, where it has placed tent cards and is utilising their LCD screens to spread the message. The tent cards carry the message, 'If you find this hard to read, it's time to book a Meru Cab'.

In another interesting innovation, colour coding is used on coasters. A customer is given the first drink on a black coaster. The subsequent drinks follow on green, amber and red coasters. The red coaster signifies that it's time to call for a cab and comes with the message, 'You do the drinking, we do the driving'.

A tent card
Speaking to afaqs!, Gavin D'Abreo, chief marketing officer, Meru Cabs, says, "On weekends, most customers call for cabs between 5-11 pm and they usually call when they are dining out." This observation led to the promotion and the agency behind it is chlorophyll.

Kiran Khalap, co-founder, chlorophyll, tells afaqs!, "The idea (behind the promotion) is to connect the public service message with boosting the revenue stream of the company."

Gunjan Arya, brand planner, chlorophyll, says, "The reason for choosing this segment (people dining out) is that most of them possess cars but require a cab for situations in which they are either unable to drive or find it easier to hire a cab."

One of the coasters
Khalap adds that the promotion will be intensified around Diwali, New Year and other similar occasions. He elaborates, "Meru Cabs is a national brand now and the challenges in every city are different. For instance, in Mumbai and Delhi, the company needs to differentiate itself from other brands. In Hyderabad, it needs to create the category itself."

Meru Cabs will also advertise on print, radio and the Internet, says D'Abreo. The company is also looking at tie ups with airlines and travel sites to promote its services.

Other service providers in this category include Easy Cabs, Mega Cabs and Dial-a-Cab.