Thursday, July 3, 2008

selling cars and keeping drivers off roads

For once, let’s assume that selling an expensive sacrifice is not a haloed task, but that it's similar to selling an expensive product.

This may seem to take away the magic of public service advertising, but we have nothing to lose but an award category. The fact is that plasma TVs and expensive cars do sell, while we haven’t really managed to sell safety to the drunk drivers zig zagging across streets.

So the first thing you would do is find an insight that reveals what consumers really want or don’t want.

Why do people drink and drive? Definitely not because they don’t know what could happen if they had an accident. Digging deeper, we might find that:
It’s macho: You think you can hold your alcohol and are totally in control.
Cabs are expensive: It’s much cheaper to drive back than to take a cab, especially if you own a two wheeler.
You don’t know what to do with your car/bike: Parking in a public place overnight is often dangerous. You never know if your car or bike will still be there when you come back the next morning.

Working from these insights, you would then make an offer that makes people get more than they’re giving up.

Here are some, working on the principles of selling expensive things…

Bundled offers: If you’re planning a wild night out, you’re prepared to shell out more than at the neighborhood booze shop. Bars or pubs build in the cost of a driver into the cover charge. Before you stagger towards your parking shpashe, the manager offers you the use of a complimentary driver who gets you home safely.
Another version of this could be shared cabs hired by the bars, which drop people off at closing time. Again, the cost is built into the cover charge.

EMIs: The idea of a designated driver has been executed before, but that doesn’t stop it from being brilliant. You break up the sacrifice into palatable portions, and throw in free snacks for the abstainer.

Special offers with expiry dates: Parking in a public place overnight is often dangerous, because you don’t know if your car or bike will still be there when you return the next morning. So, like the festival offers that clear stocks, a drinking establishment offers to guard your vehicle till 8 am the next morning. The cost to the bar? That of a couple of guards in a designated space.

Cross promos: Bars tie up with malls in this scenario. For an extra charge, you can leave your vehicle overnight in the otherwise empty mall parking space.

Not only will these ideas keep some tipsy drivers off the roads, a lot of people actually would have a lot to gain. Bars would get more customers more often, since even conscientious drivers wouldn’t mind dropping in unplanned. Cab companies would gain business from people who would otherwise have driven back on their own. Malls could generate money out of hibernating parking lots.

The only people who wouldn’t gain directly would be those pitching for the public service category of awards. But look at the brighter side, the services category is much bigger than social service ...


  1. i just chanced upon ur blog from 'pepe's'.
    *apologetically* i don't know if u are into cars business or even whether u live in Bangalore. But if u do any one of the above, can u tell me something about the new Reva. Its come to delhi just now and i want to buy it. but i don't seem to know anyone who has previously owned it. There are about 700 of them in Bangalore so any pointers?Worth a buy is it?

  2. I don't know much about cars,flygye 12... but i do know that the reva has always seemed a bit expensive for a 2 seater (that's what it really is - unless you have passengers from honey i shrunk...). But now with the fuel prices going crazy, its 2.something lakhs seems a small price for huge savings in fuel...