Ola, one of the world’s largest rideshare companies, has taken an innovative approach to its marketing as it tries to disrupt Uber’s monopoly in the UK, by partnering with a company that places branding on private vehicles.
Ola, founded in 2011 in India, is well established in many countries including India and Australia but only launched in the UK in August 2018. The company has initially launched in cities including Cardiff, Newport, Exeter, Bath and Bristol but has applied for licences across the UK.
In an effort to quickly raise awareness of the brand in the areas it has launched, it has partnered with a company called Car Quids, which connects private motorists with companies seeking brand awareness in a specific geographical area.
Advertisers can select from a pool of pre-registered car owners based on their location and typical driving patterns, buying space on any number of vehicles for a period of time. They can plan, track and analyse their campaigns, view the level of impressions and reach in any given city, allowing them to calculate their ROI online. In return, the drivers get paid for displaying the adverts, typically around £100 a month.
Emma Kenelm, Chief Marketing Officer of Ola Cabs, said she believes the use of this form of advertising on private vehicles can be a valuable part of the overall marketing mix for certain types of companies – especially those that require very geographically targeted campaigns.
“It is a natural fit for us because it allows us to buy contextually relevant advertising space and enables us to target specific geographical areas in a very granular and measurable way. We also like the fact that we can make fast decisions and be reactive in the context of what is a very fast-moving landscape as we launch across the UK.
“We want to find out how the Ola concept resonates with the UK consumer versus the existing competition,” she said. “When we launched in India, we were first to market, so this is a very different challenge for us. We are testing how people will respond to what we do and how quickly we can change the dynamics of the landscape.”
Ola and its Car Quids campaigns appear to have struck a chord with local communities, with one campaign member commenting:
“I’ve had a high volume of people stop to look and read the ads displayed on my car. I also know people who have used Ola as a result of seeing the ads on my car.”
Over 100,000 miles have been covered by branded cars in South Wales and Bristol to this date. By analysing monthly surveys Car Quids sends out to its drivers, so far during this month, 90 per cent of drivers reported the adverts they display are getting people talking about Ola.
The concept of Car Quids is the brainchild of entrepreneur Viraj Ratnalikar. While enjoying a pub lunch in London, he noticed how many taxis around London carry advertisements; he realised if he could match advertisers with privately-owned vehicles, he could help redirect marketing cash straight back into the pockets of individuals.
Founder of Car Quids, Viraj Ratnalikar, said:
“We are delighted to be working with a globally successful and established company such as Ola, which has taken a very innovative approach to its marketing campaign in the UK. Our offering complements the company’s objectives perfectly. We are able to offer geo-targeted campaigns designed to boost their brand awareness in specific hotspots as they roll their offering across the UK. Our technology also means they can track and analyse their campaigns accurately and calculate their ROI online.”