Transit advertising in eastern India has recently received a boost. Mumbai-based media agency Brand and More MAPP has secured the advertising rights for private yellow cabs and private buses in West Bengal's capital city, Kolkata.
While the state transport buses of CSTC (Calcutta State Transport Corporation) carry ads, these are only about 400 in number, compared to the 10,000 private buses and mini buses that ply in the city.
The media agency, in a first, has tied up with the unions under which these private vehicles run and has signed a sole advertising rights contract with them for a period of 10 years. The transport department and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have also given necessary clearances to the project.
This will allow national and local advertisers to use ad space on private buses, mini buses and the yellow cabs of Kolkata.
Interestingly, the agency claims that it has not pasted the ad vinyls directly on the bus surfaces, but has devised a base creation with sunboard, which levels the entire irregular surface of the vehicle body and creates a plain smooth finished surface. On the sunboard base, the vinyl is pasted and the entire margins are bordered with a one-inch aluminium beading frame which provides a niche look.
The advertising rates will be approximately Rs 10,000 per cab per month and Rs 20,000 per bus per month. The launch has seen LIC Housing Finance advertise on these buses.
The agency points out that while this is a commercial venture, this project will also provide benefits to the transport labourers by way of a free Rs 1,00,000 insurance policy per vehicle, as well as a regular monthly income to the cash-strapped vehicle owners.
Arindam Modak, vice-president, eastern region, Brand and More MAPP, says, "This media gives brands mobility across the city, cutting across the entire socio-economic strata, whereas a billboard is stationary. This provides a very high amount of OTS (Opportunity to See) value to the brand as well."
Getting here was not an easy ride, claims Modak, who says that the agency undertook the challenging task of bringing all the unions of different political parties to buy into the concept, got them all to agree to the financial limitations and procured the license from the transport department, for the first time, on private vehicles.
While currently the agency also has the sole advertising rights on all the buses in West Bengal, Patna and Assam by virtue of its contracts with the trade unions of the operators, Brand and More MAPP also plans to launch another mass media soon, which it claims is very innovative.
Modak says, "This is new and innovative branding in auto rickshaws, where we are holding the national as well as international patents for the said design under legitimate national and international patent laws. It will have a presence in 333 cities in India."
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