By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Picture this. You’re on the Inner Loop of the Beltway, traveling at top speeds of 14 miles an hour, as you slog along from Connecticut Avenue all the way to Route 50.
It’s not a pretty evening commute, but not altogether out of the ordinary … until you suddenly spot what seems to be a privately owned vehicle that’s wrapped with branding from Coca-Cola. Then, like magic, a Coke commercial comes on one of five CBS Radio stations serving the National Capital Region.
That’s exactly what Rex Regner, Director/Product Development & Innovation for CBS Radio/Washington, hopes will happen very soon, thanks to a revolutionary new pact between his station group and Wrapify, a digital company founded in summer 2015 based just north of Del Mar Fairgrounds in scenic Solana Beach, Calif.
A year in the making, the concept is simple — albeit unconventional.
Wrapify offers cash to individuals who are willing to wrap their automobiles with branding of their preferences, based on choices provided by Wrapify.
That’s where CBS Radio comes in for Wrapify’s users in D.C., Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Advertisers on any of the cluster’s radio stations — Hot AC WIAD-FM 94.7, Rhythmic WPGC-FM 95.5, Sports Talkers WJFK-AM 1580 and WJFK-FM 106.7, and Spanish-language Tropical WLZL-FM 107.9 — can elect to extend their opportunities beyond a Run of Schedule or digital advertising on Radio.com or any of the stations’ locally focus online platforms. Once the client gives the green light, their brand then gets approved for Wrapify to offer it to one of their users.
More than a billboard on wheels, Wrapify believes it has strong data and metrics that can show the effectiveness of a car wrapped with a brand’s logo. Interested consumers can download the Wrapify app from the Google Play or iPhone App Store, and GPS technology via the Wrapify app will inform them of what your driving patterns are — putting in place the time and location a brand’s logo is seen thanks to a driver who could simply be dropping the kids off at school, buying groceries at Giant on the way home from work, and then heading to the Metro station’s parking lot, where the car will gain valuable exposure while the driver takes the train into the heart of D.C.
That’s because the Wrapify app tracks a vehicle’s mileage and route, and combines the data with local traffic patterns to determine the number of impressions made on consumers on a particular day and time.
In return to having their personal vehicle wrapped with a logo or branding of their choice, Wrapify users get paid somewhere between $300 and $400 a month, Regner tells RBR + TVBR.
James Heller, Wrapify’s CEO, said, “Partnering with CBS Radio in Washington, D.C. brings Wrapify the ability to roll out large scale sales efforts in the D.C. market while providing our partners with a way to integrate visual impressions into their advertising campaigns.”
Steve Swenson, SVP/Market Manager of CBS Radio D.C. quintet, added that the partnership will strengthen its marketing assets in the region by providing clients with a way to reach more out-of-home consumers. “Our clients will literally own the eyes and ears on the road, and we will be able to provide them with detailed analytics on how their messages are being seen – an important component that sets this product apart from similar services.”
But, are savvy D.C. car owners willing to slap a brand wrap on their own car?
Regner says yes, and equates it to Uber or Lyft. The key difference: There’s a daily cap on how many miles a driver can travel to receive their daily earnings from Wrapify.
Oh, and there’ll be a big logo on your car, instead of strangers in your car that you’d be transporting from point A to point B to earn your extra cash.
Despite the high socioeconomic profile of many in the National Capital Area, not everyone is uber-wealthy.
“A lot of people here want to make additional income,” Regner says. “This isn’t a second job – you are literally going to work, and wherever else you go every day, and not doing anything different.”
It’s also completely voluntary. Once the user downloads the app, they are asked to drive between 50 and 100 miles. Then, the app goes live, and brand choices — again, supplied by CBS Radio — will be presented to them.
Who pays for the wrap? Wrapify handles that, as part of the volunteer user arrangement and partnership with CBS Radio and its clients.
No offense to drivers of a lime green 1976 Dodge Dart, but there is a criteria for what sort of vehicle can boast a brand wrap.
“It has to be 2008 or newer vehicle,” Regner explains, adding that a driver’s background check is conducted by Wrapify. “We don’t just want anybody. We want a decent responsible person, who is driving.”
While CBS Radio marks the first radio company to team up with Wrapify, the wrapped car driver is already a reality in Houston.
“In Houston we had someone wrap their Audi A4 with Super Bowl branding,” Regner says. “That’s a $40,000 car, so while some may say this will attract lower socioeconomic consumers, it’s not.”
Actually, it’s been a proven hit with millennials — the hottest and most elusive group of consumers sought by brand managers and CMOs. The average age of a Wrapify driver is aged 28 to 32.
Among the “pretty good mix” of advertisers already partnering with Wrapify are Kids, which allows for doctor house calls for adults and kids; Petco; eBay; and Bud Light.
Thus far, CBS Radio is not promoting Wrapify on the air … yet. Regner says the cluster will consider it if the opportunity presents itself.
Could it also be used to put a Fresh logo on a VW Beetle, or a WPGC logo on a GMC Suburban?
Perhaps, Regner says.
What is certain is that CBS Radio’s National Capital cluster is the incubator for all of the company’s radio stations. If it works here, K-Earth could be offering it to Los Angeles clients while WWJ does the same in Detroit, Regner hints.
“If we show traction, think how quickly we could roll this out, given the portfolio of markets CBS has.”
RBR + TVBR