With a brief intro to the history of taxitop advertising, we ask the question, in a world of ‘connected audiences’ with iphones and ipads, how will Out-Of Home (OOH) media and taxitop media in particular adapt? Is ‘digital’ the way forwards? Find out below!

Taxitop History

Taxitop advertising is a common feature of many cities around the world. Born in the USA in 1976, the taxitop has graced our streets for decades ever since. The taxitop concept is simple – use taxis to get your advertising messages to the masses. Taxis by their very nature are always near to high volumes of people and therefore present an excellent mobile billboard for advertisers – notably at a fraction of the cost of inner city road side billboards.

Taxitop advertising for many years has maintained its shape and style, using a backlit ‘toblerone’ shaped enclosure with printed ads placed on top. Many have tried to change the shape of the taxitop, but few have succeeded. Having said this, Show Media, successfully launched in 2010 their ‘High Impact taxitops’ in New York, with a unique style and design – characterised by an Apple iPod style thin wraparound brushed metal bezel.

These high impact tops added an additional 30% addressable advertising real estate to the previous taxitop with a whopping 17.5”H x 54”W compared to the previous 14”H x 48”W. Since Show Media’s sale of their taxi media network to Verifone Media in 2011, the high impact taxitops have gone from strength to strength, becoming increasingly more visible in major cities in the USA.

Taxitop Benefits

Taxitop advertising is a highly desirable format for brands to communicate with the public. In cities such as London and New York, the taxi carries a unique and iconic look and shape, which brands are keen to be associated with and pay a premium for.

The position of the taxitop, on the roof of the taxi, provides an optimal viewing height for people on the street. Unlike the British ‘taxi supersides’ concept, positioned on the lower half of the vehicle under the windows, the taxitop medium is visible at eye level and can even be seen in peak traffic above the roofs of other vehicles.

In addition, unlike traditional taxi vinyl, the taxitop medium is backlit enabling full visibility of ads in day time and night time.

Having said this, unlike static roadside advertising, taxitop media is restricted by size of addressable ad space and dwell time of consumers. These 2 factors result in a completely new communications strategy when dealing with taxitops. Messages must be bold, short and to the point. They must be instantly recognisable and ensure that in one snap shot, the consumer is able to digest the information quickly.

The Future of Taxitop Media

The OOH sector as a whole is under immense pressure from brands to deliver more intelligent and targeted campaigns to the public. The overall aim, as always, is to increase likelihood of conversion from ‘awareness’ to ‘transaction’ in the product being advertised. The more relevant your advert is to the public, the more likely you will engage with the consumer and the more likely for this “conversion”.

Brand expectations are evermore increased by the features available to them in the mobile and online world of media. The ability to track users and tailor adverts to the individual is all the more available to brands today – features they have grown  accustomed to using and are starting to demand in the offline world.

Taxitop media falls within the OOH sector and is also under pressure to match the benefits of online in an offline environment. To ensure taxi media and OOH in general remains competitive, it is key to understand the role “out of home” plays in the overall media landscape.

The key question in this article is that in a world where audiences carry their own personal digital screen wherever they go, how does taxitop media add value to the consumer’s life?

In summary, taxitop media can be treated as a ‘prompt’ for connected audiences to navigate both online and offline. These prompts may be a simple brand awareness exercise or involve a more engaging experience, involving a call to action. Ensuring each of these prompts are relevant to the audience is key. Rest assured, the more relevant the prompt to the connected audience, the more likely for a response. Today’s connected audiences have the power to instantaneously engage with this prompt using their mobile device.

As an industry we must identify methods that complement the user’s habits and does not fight against them. In an effort to meet this growing market demand for more targeted campaigns, ‘DIGITAL’ taxitop media plays a key role in bridging the gap between the mobile, online and offline world.

For digital taxitop advertising to interact and engage with today’s connected audiences, each prompt must be relevant. By relevant, we mean in harmony with the audience’s mindset and journey. The more we are able to do this, the more integral our role will be in the media landscape. Digital taxitops present a number of ways to ensure that these prompts are more relevant (and therefore more effective) than traditional taxitop advertising or taxi vinyl.

In reference to Eyetease Media’s digital taxitop, named the iTaxitop™, this new way of advertising on taxis ensures relevancy of each prompt through syncing the advertisements with the audience’s mindset and journey. Adverts are targeted by both time of day and location. Adding movement to digital screens on the roof of taxis, presents a series of interesting applications and benefits to brands and consumers.

Using this highly adaptive digital broadcast medium, enables the iTaxitop to play out the right prompt to the right audience at the right place and time. This of course, is not a simple task and involves an evolutionary approach to advertising. The term AI (artificial intelligence) often synonymous with computers and robotics can be applied to advertising with what Eyetease like to call ‘Advertising Intelligence’. As media owners, it is our role to ensure that these prompts continue to resonate with connected audiences and are validated. Introducing the appropriate call to action is key. Connected audiences are equipped to respond, under the right terms. If we can get this right, we have a powerful means of closing the loop between the online and offline ecosystem of the connected audience.

To find out more about how digital taxitop advertising can benefit you and your business, please email info@eyetease.com.