BAT is first to try advertising on private cars in Spain

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MADRID -- The Spanish subsidiary of British American Tobacco has signed up as the first client for the 'Publicoche' system launched at the end of 1996 by Madrid-based Logocar. Logocar, founded by Rafael Machio and Alejandro Palacio, claims to offer advertisers a world first - the opportunity to use private cars as an integrated advertising medium.

In the latter part of 1996, Logocar built up a database of car owners in the Madrid area interested in receiving $230 per month in return for their vehicle being completely covered in a vinyl 'skin' bearing a logo and advertising message.

The database contains details of the car and of the owner including residence, profession and 'normal' weekly driving pattern. Advertisers can then select what type and color of car they are interested in and which owners are most suited to the campaign in terms of their driving patterns.

Campaigns can be booked for a minimum of 25 cars and for one to six months, the basic cost for which is $29,000 per 25 cars/month. Car owners are only obliged to observe their 'normal' driving habits.

Marketing of the idea to advertisers and agencies began late last year and BAT has signed up for a campaign for its Pall Mall brand, using 75 cars for 3 months at a 'rate card' cost of $260,000. The cars will carry the regulatory health warning for tobacco products and, according to Logocar, BAT was careful to avoid in its selection potentially controversial car owners such as teachers, who might park their cars in front of schools each day.

According to Rafael Machio, interest is high and now that the 75 Pall Mall cars are being seen on the streets of Madrid it hopes to close a number of deals that are currently under discussion. These include talks with a second cigarette company as well as brands in the soft drinks, beer, television and travel sectors.

The system is currently only available in Madrid although Logocar is already in talks to sign up franchisees for 'Publicoche' in other major cities and, eventually, to offer advertisers coverage of all major provincial capitals.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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