Some companies look at Uber and Lyft cars and see a vast, untapped resource: a way to reach passengers and pedestrians with marketing messages. Here is a rundown on some companies using Uber and Lyft cars (and sometimes regular people’s cars) for marketing:
Vugo: Co-founder James Bellefeuille came up with the idea for Vugo’sbackseat infotainment video screens while moonlighting as an Uber driver on top of his day job at an advertising agency.
“My (ad) clients wanted to reach people like my passengers at the right time, right place, with the right message,” he said.
The Minnesota company started off providing Uber and Lyft drivers backseat tablets with video content and commercials, but now it offers software for fleet owners to set up their own ad-supported tablet systems instead.
Vugo’s first target for this is New York, where it is common for companies to own fleets of black cars that they lease to drivers who work for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services.
But Vugo quickly ran into a roadblock. New York City regulators banned interior ads in ride-hailing vehicles to protect “passenger comfort,” even though they are allowed in New York cabs. Vugo sued the city for violating its First Amendment rights, and won its case in February.
It’s now starting to install its software in 3,500 black cars. Drivers make about $100 to $200 a month, the company says. Passengers can lower the volume and dim the screen, and Vugo also says it has added mute and off buttons.
Vugo’s victory was greeted with dismay by some local media.
“Your ride home from Uber, Lyft is about to get a lot more annoying,” wrote the New York Post. Many New Yorkers loathe Taxi TV, backseat screens in yellow cabs which run repetitive content and lengthy ad loops.
“Everyone talks about how negative an experience taxi ads are; we want to prove it doesn’t have to be that way,” Bellefeuille said. He said passengers eventually will be able to select content they’re interested in, such as sports or entertainment. “If you’re going to the ballgame and running late, we could stream the opening to you so you don’t miss it.”
Vugo plans to come to the Bay Area this year and is also looking at Los Angeles, Bellefeuille said.
Read more: source Carolyn Said – San Francisco Chronicle