Advertising on local taxis is a little contentious. Quite a few potential clients rule it out immediately, regardless of how law-abiding the driver or roadworthy the vehicle, citing negative associations as their main concern. Other brands, in contrast, have boldly stepped into this space, realising the value of the market accessed via this medium.
The myriad of taxi commuters queuing at ranks illustrates the demand for this form of public transport. Love it or hate it, it’s a vital part of the local economy, and essential to the lives of many. According to Santaco, over 18 million people travel by taxi, of which 15 million people travel daily to and from work – and that figure is no doubt growing.
Unsurprisingly, taxi commuters make up a serious chunk of the country’s consumers. They account for about 70% of Shoprite shoppers and 57% of Checkers shoppers, as well as making up 65% of the market for maize products; 63% for tinned fish; 62% for bread; and 62% for rice (TGISA 2014C).
When it comes to shopping for clothes, Mr Price, Edgars, and Ackermans lead in the commuter sector. There is also great potential for financial services within this market, with 66% personally dealing with a bank, and more than half of taxi commuters taking out a personal loan.
Taxi commuters form the lion’s share of consumers across staple categories. The potential spending power of this market is demonstrated by the large number of mall developments in and around the taxi rank environment. One example is the R240 million development of the Pan African mall at Alexandra Taxi Rank, which brings in R30 million per month for tenants, according to Tebogo Mogashoa, chairmain of Tebfin Ltd, the developers of the mall.
But what about the “negative associations” that plague taxis?
Primedia Outdoor, which has branding rights to minibus taxis nationwide, reaching a potential 18 million taxi commuters, accepts only the ‘cream of the crop’. ‘We make a point of selecting vehicles that are of good quality’, says Terry Murphy, Primedia Outdoor’s Marketing and Marketing Services Executive.
In addition, drivers who are found guilty of repeat offenses are removed from a campaign. This means that taxi drivers and owners have an economic incentive to keep on the right side of the law.
Meanwhile, urbanisation keeps growing. Africa’s rate of urbanisation will overtake Asia’s by 2030, and South Africa’s urbanisation trends are way above average for the continent.
Jack van der Merwe, chief executive of the Gautrain Management Agency, has noted that “Gauteng will have 18.6 million inhabitants in 25 years… [and] we’ll have 8.9 million workers. That’s 8.9 million home-work trips and work-home trips – around 24 million to 25 million passenger trips a day“.
In other words, as the demand for public transport continues to increase, the number of taxi commuters in the rank environment is set to grow, and with it, the audience exposed to taxi branding. This, at a time when reaching audiences through traditional media is increasingly tricky, thanks to fragmentation, declining viewers, and all the other pitfalls that are keeping the industry’s players from sleeping soundly at night.
Behind the scenes:
Primedia Outdoor is the largest wholly South-African-owned outdoor advertising media specialist, focusing primarily on the marketing and selling of outdoor advertising signage. With over 17 000 advertising faces across the country, it offers national outdoor exposure across a mix of media types. These include high-end digital signs, airport advertising, freeway and suburban spectaculars and street furniture, as well as taxi and bus branding, taxi rank branding and Rank TV.
Primedia Outdoor provides flexible coverage of the entire socio-economic spectrum, from cosmopolitan consumers in major urban areas through to those living in rural communities in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
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