Mainstream advertising has long been viewed as unkind to startup ventures, as its high advertising rates literally price the fledgling advertisers out of the market. Thankfully for startups, however, there are now three alternative advertising models to help them compete with their deep-pursed competitors: transit ads, placemat advertising, and SMS advertising. For just a fraction of the cost of a traditional tri-media advertising campaign, these alternative advertising models are being touted as capable of generating as much buzz for a product or service as their mainstream counterparts.
The people behind these new advertising models concede that they are not about to replace tri-media yet as the advertising modes of choice, but they insist that these advertising models can provide a viable alternative for cost-conscious businesses.
Transit ads, otherwise known as transport ads, target the ever-growing number of commuters that take public transport. These ads usually come in the form of liquid crystal display (LCD) advertising pitches mounted on buses, trains, and taxicabs; wrap-around posters on the bodies of buses, trains, and passenger jeepneys; and signboards on the roof of passenger jeepneys and taxicabs. Aside from offering a mobile presence for the product or service being advertised, they can reach a wide-ranging target audience across almost all of the demographic classes.
One company that specializes in transport ads is LG7 Advertising. This Metro Manila-based company, which went into this business in September 2008, expects a growing demand for transport ads due to the heavy clutter in billboards and the severe congestion of ad placements in the traditional advertising media.
Says Filemon Vargas, chief operating officer of LG7 Advertising: “The use of transport ads is a trend that’s growing globally. This is because they are cheaper and a more effective form of outdoor advertising. They are more dynamic than other advertising media because they are always on the move. And as countries put more premium to the conservation of space, I believe that the use of billboards for outdoor advertising will fall.”
Vargas says that a typical six-month bus ad campaign offered by LG7 Advertising costs anywhere from P20,000 to P40,000 a month per bus, compared to P135,000 a month in the case of traditional billboards. LG7 wraps the exteriors of the bus with images of the advertiser’s products and services. To run an effective bus ad campaign, Vargas says, the advertiser needs at least five buses as compared to at least three billboards for a billboard campaign.
He explains the advantage of a bus ad campaign: “If you compare the prices, a six-month bus ad campaign will cost P900,000 against P2.4 million for a comparable billboard campaign. This is a huge difference. The target audience is basically the same, but since a bus ad is mobile, potentially more people will get to see it than a billboard.”
Placemat ads are a relatively new form of advertising wherein the advertiser pays to have its logos and advertising messages printed on placemats used by food establishments. A relatively cheap form of advertising, it aims to get its message across to its target audiences during the waiting time for diners to get served in restaurants.