AHMEDABAD: Talks about brands and reach could not hope for a better ride. Success is coming on three wheels for brands looking for eyeballs and consumers.

Three-wheelers, the lifeline for public transport in almost all Indian cities and towns, are also turning out to be cheap marketing vehicles for companies eager to take their products across consumer categories.

And, what could be a better choice than the ubiquitous auto-rickshaw that ferries passengers from residential societies to plush offices, market places, railway stations, airports and is also parked in congested areas and slums. For brand managers, there could not be a better choice of consumers.

Ahmedabad has approximately 50,000 auto rickshaws and brands like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum, Samrat Namkeen, Sushma Namkeen have opted for similar brand promotions. Needless to say, a lot many are expected to follow,” says proprietor Pushpak Communication Pankaj Dave.

Big Bazaar is one such example. The company will soon start its campaign through autorickshaws.” According to us, such modes of advertising can help us reach across every section, in terms of area as well as customers. The better quality three-wheelers in the city are also an added advantage. One can get better visibility, at cheaper rates,” says Gujarat head Pantaloon Retail Anand Adukiya.

Payment per auto-rickshaw could be as low as Rs 500 per month. Contrast it with a hoarding that would cost close to Rs one lakh for one month, the moving medium is certainly the cheapest. Apart from three-wheelers, brands are also riding on pulling carts and camel carts in the city.

“Brands which need to target masses, usually opt for such out-of-home advertising. The idea is to create a better visibility and higher recall value for your product,” says IIM-A Prof. Arvind Sahay.

Adds director, brand services, Triton Communications Sanjay Chakraborty, “One can also focus on target customers in such medium. For instance, an edible oil brand can display ads on auto rickshaws carrying school children, so that it is visible to mothers. A premium suiting brand will not do the same.” The medium is particularly attractive for companies looking for reach and not brand-building. A typically upmarket brand will not associate itself with auto-rickshaws, says a consultant.

Though such mediums turn out to be cheaper, the concept can not be used for every product. In fact, in the last few years, the concept has been followed by a number of brands, both established as well as local. Also, a few advertising agencies in the city have come up, which only cater to such outdoor advertising techniques. one such example is Pushpak Communication.

Source : Parag Dave & Mahima Puri, TNN