Flare pays motorists to wrap cars in ads

Flare pays motorists to wrap cars in ads

Mr Kamiya, right, Mr Oba, left, and Anujtha Jaovisidha, an executive with Toyota Tsusho Thailand at the launch for Flare.
Mr Kamiya, right, Mr Oba, left, and Anujtha Jaovisidha, an executive with Toyota Tsusho Thailand at the launch for Flare.

Flare, a Japanese startup collaborating with Toyota Tsusho Thailand and an office in Bangkok, is introducing a mobile application that allows drivers to cover their cars in advertising to earn money based on how often and where they drive.

"We designed this product after noticing how long Bangkok drivers are stuck in traffic jams. Brand advertisers want to measure the number of eyeballs on their ads" said Kazuki Kamiya, founder of Flare Thailand.

Drivers who get their vehicles covered with "wrap advertising" can earn an average of 2,000-4,000 baht per month per car, depending on the size of the ad, length and duration of the driving route. Car owners need to register and download the Flare app.

Flare prefers long-distance drivers over short-distance drivers, as the latter will be on the road less and have fewer viewers. Flare will pay car owners for car painting and wrap costs.

"This is the first time Thailand will have full-scale wrap mobile advertising on personal cars with real-time location tracking and measurement through GPS and Google Maps," said Mr Kamiya.

Brands can choose preferred vehicles as well as the location of the driving routes.

To measure the effectiveness of the ads, Flare uses statistics and impressions or an estimated number of people who will view them. Some 20,000 impressions per day will earn about 6,000 baht per month per vehicle.

Brands can track their moving ads in real-time and estimate the number of impressions via a Flare dashboard that monitors location and calculates views based on traffic jams and location.

Within six months, the company expects to have 15,000 drivers in its system, scaling up to 100,000 cars in the future.

Compared with other out-of-home [OOH] media like billboards, where ad space is expensive and inaccessible to small ad buyers, mobile advertising only takes two weeks to prepare for one car and the results can be tracked through the app.

"Wrapped vehicles will grow market share in OOH media from less than 1% to 5-10% in the next five years," Mr Kamiya said.

The OOH market in Thailand is expected to be 14 billion baht in 2019, growing 20%.

Flare plans to use deep learning to analyse driver behaviour for future offerings.

He said automotive, consumer products, soft drinks, instant noodles, property, e-commerce and event marketing campaigns will all find value in using this service for advertising.

Kiyoyoshi Oba, president of Toyota Tsusho Thailand, the trading arm of the Toyota Group, said the company is investing a 5% stake in Flare for 3 million baht in a pre-Series A round, as part of efforts to diversify into Mobility as a Service and non-automotive revenue sources.

"We see new cars as potential customers," he said. "Similar to Toyota in Japan investing in Grab Southeast Asia."

In Thailand, the company will continue to invest in strategic startup projects based on technology in smart living, ageing society and Mobility as a Service.

The company's non-automotive revenue makes up 10% of the total, with 90% coming from auto sales, but it aims to balance the two components of its business moving forward. In Japan, Toyota Tsusho's non-auto business generates 40% of revenue.

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