Tech Firm Energizes Taxi-Top Ads With Real-time Messages

Mantise Media Launches First Geo-targeting Digital Out-of-Home Media in Asia

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Mantise Media co-founders Douglas Khoo (l.) and Barry Ma in Hong Kong
Mantise Media co-founders Douglas Khoo (l.) and Barry Ma in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AdAgeChina.com) -- Mantise Media has put a creative, high-tech spin on a static form of outdoor media, taxi-top signs.

The solution--the first geo-targeting digital out-of-home media platform in Asia--gives marketers access to real time advertising options, and for as little as three cents per ad.

It's more impactful for marketers than traditional out-of-home advertising, said Mantise CEO Barry Ma, because ads and information can be broadcast to target audiences at preferred locations and specific times.

The system incorporates a taxi-top liquid crystal display panel, global positioning system technology (GPS) and wireless communication of real time data and messages to offer location- and time-specific advertising.
The system incorporates a taxi-top liquid crystal display panel, GPS technology and wireless communication
The system incorporates a taxi-top liquid crystal display panel, GPS technology and wireless communication
If the outdoor temperature reaches a particular high or low, for example, an automated alert could be transmitted to the taxi GPS systems, triggering ads for weather-related products like cold or hot beverages. Ads can also be programmed to run at certain times of day or when taxis are in a certain geographic location.

"It's similar to the light boxes currently on top of Hong Kong taxis, but it's static versus interactive. It gives advertisers a focused outdoor medium, more targeted," said Douglas Khoo, the Hong Kong-based VP of sales and marketing. "The low production cost and quick turnaround time if messages need to be changed or rotated are additional advantages."

The outdoor media format launched June 2 in Hong Kong with 30 taxis, but Mantise Media plans to have a network of 200 taxis by end of this year, and 500 within 12 months. During the launch phase, ad rates start at 20 Hong Kong cents (3 U.S. cents) per exposure lasting approximately 15 seconds.

Mantise Media launched with advertising for two major Hong Kong-based companies, quick service restaurant operator Fairwood Holdings, and an Asian cosmetics retail group, Sa Sa International Holdings.

Mantise is negotiating with retailers and consumer goods marketers and talking with financial institutions about sponsoring real-time updates of Hong Kong's Hang Seng stock market index, weather and traffic reports, and even the winners of Hong Kong's Mark Six lottery.

"We're also looking at opportunities involving multiple platforms such as mobile marketing and e-coupons, even fun things like treasure hunts," said Mr. Khoo, who co-founded Mantise with Mr. Ma in 2006.

Previously, he ran his own online marketing services firm in China and held senior positions at WPP agencies Ogilvy & Mather, JWT and Mindshare. Co-founder Mr. Ma was CEO of Intelligent Transport System Holding, a Hong Kong leader in the field of telematics, the use of GPS technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology in car navigation systems.

The company hopes to expand later this year to Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and other Asian cities with high-density populations--and budget-conscious marketers.

"With the bad economy these days, advertisers with tight budgets are looking for a better-targeted and a more efficient medium to minimize wastage," Mr. Khoo said "Hong Kong needs to be on the technology map as well as on the creative map, we hope to move the needle a bit."


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