AdFleet Gives Taxi Ads a New Spin

LOS ANGELES Independent AdFleet will roll out its new concept in transit advertising this morning, said agency president Ian Klassen.

Two thousand taxis owned by companies including L.A. Independent, City Cab and Checker will hit the streets of Los Angeles equipped with non-rotating hubcab ads, Frisbee-like vinyl disks designed to fit over a car’s wheel but remain stationary while it revolves.

“With limited space, the industry is looking for something different, something new to get consumers’ attention,” explained Klassen, whose inspiration to launch the Santa Monica, Calif.-based shop was sparked by a similar wheel-ad concept he saw in Singapore. “It was hypnotizing,” he recalled. “And nobody else was doing it.”

AdFleet’s 30-person nationwide sales staff plans to cater to “an ethical group of mainstream” clients such as cell phone companies, sports teams and retail stores. The first batch of discs, with 16.25-inches of logo space, feature ads for the L.A. Dodgers, Taco Bell, Jiffy Lube, Virgin Colas and 1-800-Cheap Seats. By the end of the summer, Klassen said, wheel ads are expected to be affixed to 7,500 cabs in 14 major cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Boston, Toronto and Washington D.C. The company is also prepping to introduce 23-inch discs for bus and truck wheels.

The discs, which must meet city-specific transportation safety regulations, are made “in a Far East manufacturing facility” and “take a lot of yanking” to remove, Klassen said.

Although he declined to reveal total costs, Klassen said that advertising space, sold in cycles of four weeks and longer, is “less expensive than traditional A-frame [taxi tent] advertising.”

In addition, AdFleet’s wheel-attachment messages will not “contradict with [a cab’s] tent advertising,” he said. Top-of-taxi ad space has already established itself as a multimillion-dollar segment of the outdoor advertising business.