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Interview with The Founder of Money4Space

To gain a deeper understanding into the vehicle advertising industry we interviewed Luke Moody, managing director of Lion Media UK Ltd, a company is based in Nottingham which was launched in 2008. Lion Media UK Ltd are the company behind the vehicle advertising site

What prompted you to first start Lion Media UK?

The company was formed based on the increasing need for a low cost, effective and innovative form of advertising coupled with the renowned success of vehicle branding as a general advertising media.

Our research into vehicle branding showed that in some cases up to three quarters of sales were achieved as a direct result of customers observing branded vehicles. Feedback from SME’s indicated that vehicle branding was an extremely effective way of advertising their business while being flexible and most importantly cost effective.

We wanted to expand on this success by offering clients with suitable vehicles independent to themselves which they could then utilize as an effective advertisement medium. This allows businesses with no fleet vehicles to implement vehicle branding and also provides the advantage of added flexibility used to target specific areas and demographics.

By introducing privately owned vehicles, we are able to provide an affordable, effective outdoor advertising solution which is uniquely relevant to the current economic climate and simultaneously creates an incredibly effective PR tool.

How popular is vehicle advertising as a form of promotion for businesses?

Currently, vehicle advertising in general is an extremely popular form of promotion for businesses with existing fleet vehicles due to its high visual impact at eye-level, high success rate and low maintenance cost.

Almost every business which utilizes a vehicle or a fleet has those vehicles branded because the vehicle is ultimately a perfect setting for an effective advertisement; it offers a large surface area ideal for capturing the readers attention and it is constantly exposed to pedestrians, drivers and passengers throughout its journey and whilst parked.

The mobility of the vehicle also means that the advertisement is exposed over large areas of an urban environment rather than a single point source.

Have you noticed increasing numbers of people putting their car forward for vehicle advertising due to the recent credit crunch?

Research conducted to support our driver recruitment strategy and feedback from our driver’s questionnaire indicated that people are more likely to put their vehicle forward for advertising at this moment in time than they were this time last year reflecting the influx of driver applications.

This highlights the financial challenges people are currently facing and how this has resulted in people becoming increasingly receptive to the concept than prior to the credit crunch.

The current economic climate makes this an ideal time to implement our vehicle branding programme as drivers are highly receptive to the concept and demand for the scheme is high, therefore we have a healthy supply of varied drivers and vehicles from all over the country which can be selectively utilized to address the specific requirements of our clients.

Vehicle advertising is particularly cost-effective when it comes to measuring it on an impressions basis. With this in mind do you feel that it’s most suited towards generating brand awareness rather than generating a direct response?

Indeed it has been proven that vehicle advertising is extremely effective at achieving large numbers of impressions at a low cost, this is evident with CPM (Cost Per Thousand) figures of approximately £0.40 based on independent 3M statistics of vehicle advertising impressions and in some cases of particularly densely populated areas the CPM may be even less. This strength as you mentioned makes vehicle advertising extremely effective for generating brand awareness.

We have experienced a revolutionary advance in terms of generating a direct response from vehicle advertising purely as a result of a development in technology. The recent technological advances in the mobile phone and PDA have made it increasingly easy and convenient for pedestrians and commuters to note down company details and even visit their website whilst out of the home.

This is evident in many of our case studies relating to vehicle advertising for both offline and online businesses which specify reports of people visibly inputting company details into their mobile phone or PDA and even telephoning the company immediately after seeing the advertisement.

One specific requirement we look for in our drivers/vehicles is that of parking patterns. Our drivers are encouraged to park in highly visible locations during the day and evening which allows people to view the advertisement for a significant period of time allowing readers to digest the information fully. This coupled with ever reducing inner city average vehicle speeds means that advertisements can be easily read and digested by surrounding pedestrians, drivers and passengers.

It’s often considered that outdoor advertising works particularly well in conjunction with radio advertising. Would you recommend running radio ads campaign alongside a vehicle advertising campaign or can it work well on its own?

Ultimately, it depends on the product or service that the business is advertising as many products inherently require visual aids to fully exploit potential sales. A good example of this is the sale of electronic goods in which case the customer is receptive to the appearance of the product and this appearance is often a factor on which the desire to purchase is based.

A great initiative which would utilize the two mediums in conjunction is to award prizes to listeners who spot the labelled up vehicle out on the road. Listeners would call the company advertising or radio station and quote a code displayed on the vehicle which would then warrant the prize. This would be an interesting and effective way of promoting a brand while maintaining consumer’s interest by encouraging them to look out for the branded vehicle.

Radio can be rather expensive with CPM values of around £11 so for the same investment, a company could implement a large volume of vehicle advertisements which operate constantly day and night and crucially unlike radio cannot be turned off.

Ultimately, vehicle advertising has the ability to be effective as a stand alone medium particularly with the recent advances in technology which allow easier direct response through mobile phones and PDA’s as I mentioned earlier. Feedback from a selection of SME’s using vehicle advertising has indicated that the medium does have the capability and has delivered outstanding results as a sole outbound advertising media without support from radio campaigns.

Cars have a bad image at the moment with their effect on the environment. What would you say to companies worried about being seen in a negative light if they ran a vehicle advertising campaign?

For companies particularly keen to portrait their green credentials we have actively recruited a number of hybrid vehicles onto our database which provides an ideal opportunity for environment conscious businesses to advertise effectively in a green light.

Car manufacturers are investing millions of pounds per year into the development of green technology the results of which are starting to take hold in the market in the form of vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. We expect to see a significant rise in vehicles of this type recruited onto our database over the next few years, making this option available to a wider range of companies.

We also expect to be able to offer a number of fully electric vehicles to our clients for vehicle advertising campaigns towards the end of 2009 for those businesses which rely heavily on their green credentials.

Feedback from our research indicates that our drivers would remain as vehicle owners and run their vehicle even if not enrolled on the advertising programme which suggests that the vehicles would indeed be on the road regardless of the scheme. However, we take our environmental responsibility very seriously and do our utmost to recruit greener and more fuel efficient vehicles.

There are Foxtons Estate Agents and Red Bull cars but are you surprised that more companies haven’t chosen to develop fully-branded company cars?

Foxton’s and Red Bull vehicles are great examples of how vehicle advertising can significantly enhance a company’s profile and promote a brand successfully in an interesting and exciting way. With unique eye catching designs the vehicles are extremely effective at building brand awareness, generating a response and also provide an extremely useful tool for PR activities which both companies have capitalised on.

As we see the cost of vinyl graphics and vehicle wraps fall we will see many more companies adopt vehicle advertising, even if they do not run a fleet of vehicles. A key barrier which prevented companies from implementing vehicle advertising in the past was the initial costs involved which consisted of the cost of the vehicles themselves, the full vehicle wrap, vehicle maintenance, petrol, congestion/parking charges and driver wages.

With the introduction of our scheme we offer a complete package which delivers all the strengths of vehicle advertising at a much lower investment cost than would be required to run company owned vehicles. We also offer the added flexibility to have vehicles based wherever the client requests which would be difficult for company owned vehicles to achieve. These factors significantly increase the attractiveness of vehicle advertising to companies looking to promote their brand.

For companies running an existing fleet of vehicles, we find that often their cars are typically branded in one way or another as the initial costs are already covered in the purchase of the vehicle so only vinyl design and fitting costs remain. In terms of full vehicle wraps, we are seeing that the number of companies using wraps is increasing rapidly year on year as the technology evolves and prices are driven down.

The true potential of vehicle advertising is being recognized and in a world of overcrowded generic television, radio and magazine adverts, companies are looking to implement something different which has a proven track record in terms of effectiveness.

What do you think the future holds for vehicle advertising?

I believe that vehicle advertising has a bright future here in the UK. We are beginning to see an influx of various types of vehicle advertising across a wide variety of businesses both large and small, it is clear that the power of this medium is now being realised and implemented with fantastic results.

The combination of advances in wrap technology, reduction in pricing and the overcrowding of media channels has brought vehicle advertising into contention as a genuine cost effective alternative to more traditional types of advertising.

The introduction of our private vehicle advertising scheme allows SME’s to advertise locally and regionally with great effect at an affordable price while engaging in a novel and exciting new medium.

We have also enabled clients with no fleet vehicles to advertise in this effective way, thus opening the medium up to a vast array of business types. In terms of large businesses, we have provided an ideal opportunity to deliver effective nationwide campaigns at a fraction of the cost of a road side poster or television campaign.

The United States and Australia have experienced a vehicle advertising boom over the last few years with a massive influx of vehicle wraps and multiple car campaigns. I believe it is only a matter of time before the UK experiences the same revolution in vehicle advertising and the boundaries of traditional advertising are broken.