Wi-Fi enabled taxis coming to London, bringing new types of adverts

Anybody who has spent any time in the USA will know about Wi-Fi enables taxis. You get access to free Wi-Fi and in return you get bombarded by Advertising messages. This is now coming to London, with an announcement that Microsoft will become the first taxi advertising partner. That’s right, taxis just became the next advertising frontier.

Its estimated that the average person is bombarded with over 1,200 advertising messages every single day. 500 of these are on the Internet, and besides that we have the TV, radio, newspapers, billboards and magazines, amongst many others. So why Taxis?

Taxis don’t offer the reach of other advertising messages. Services like the TV can reach millions of people in one 15 second ad. Nor do taxis offer. Segmented audience, in the way that, say, online can. Where online ads can be sliced and diced on services like Facebook so that they only reach men aged 18 (for example), taxis are used by a huge subset of people.

Without reach and without targeting, Taxis on the surface of things appear to be a fairly poor advertising platform. However, what they do deliver is focused and engaged ad impressions. People in a taxi don’t have much to do, and a screen playing adverts is therefore surprisingly affective at generating brand recall – a key advertising aim and KPI.

In return, the availability of Wi-Fi in the cab is a new selling point for the cabs. Everybody from business people wanting to check their emails right through to everyday folks wanting to check Facebook will appreciate this. With the tube getting Wi-Fi last year, this helps taxis catch up in our ever more connected world.

“The introduction of the Wi-Fi signage ensures passengers know before hailing a cab that they will be able to quickly and easily access the web and, if they wish, opt-in to receive messages or offers from the brand that is sponsoring the exterior and interior of the taxi. With Wi-Fi now available on the Underground, this is another major step towards enabling busy people
in London to stay connected right across the transport network.”

This becomes a simple way for brands to get more out of taxi advertising. The format moves from a lifeless slogan on the side of the car to a dynamic and interesting opportunity for the brand to capture the riders attention. The introduction of the dynamism has captured Microsofts attention.

Philippa Snare, CMO at Microsoft, the first advertiser to sponsor in-taxi
Wi-Fi with Ubiquitous commented, “London continues to be a key player on the
world business stage, so helping to ensure the smooth running of the city is
an important goal for us.

“We proudly sponsored the first Wi-Fi connections in London taxis to help
provide hardworking people with a way of staying online while dashing about
their busy lives.”

It will be interesting to see how the ad campaign works for Microsoft, and ether they rush to rebook.

Would Wi-Fi in a can be selling point for you? Would you opt in to advertisers messages or is it just another Annoying type of advertising? Have your say in the comments below.