What do you see when you look at your car? Most people see just a way to get from Point A to Point B. Greg Charanduk, Founder and CEO of Sobil Media sees two things: underutilized advertising potential and an opportunity to be rewarded for some brand-name love. While consulting for a sign company, Greg was sitting at a traffic light when he was struck by a thought, “All these mobile billboards were surrounding me with no advertising on them.” Wanting to inject some warmth into the idea, he added a social media component and launched Sobil Media, an advertising company combining mobile advertising, social media engagement and fan rewards. The whole concept boils down to one sentence, “It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.”
Below, Greg talks about the changing advertising industry and the power of fandom.
How did you come up with the idea of combining social media with the concept of literal mobile advertising?
The whole advertising environment is changing very rapidly. Maybe not in the advertisers’ mind frame, but in the consumers’ mind frame. The younger generation—any generation for that matter—they really don’t have time to look at advertisements. There’s been a disruption. Companies buy advertising, either in radio, TV or print and the social groups are saying–whether consciously or inadvertently–“You know, I’m not going to buy into that anymore.” The consumer has started to tell advertisers what they want. Now, the biggest challenge for advertisers is engaging the consumer or getting a return on investment from their social platform.
Let’s say you love Red Bull, for example. You like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. But how does Red Bull engage you in a real, tangible way? Well, Red Bull can solicit you from Sobil Media as a mobile billboard. They go onto their Facebook and say, “Hey, followers, we got this great offer through SobilMedia.com. When you register as a driver there, you may have the opportunity to drive our brand on your car.” Now they’re not just advertising on a billboard or on a helmet. They’ve taken their whole advertising campaign to reward a follower and crowd source their follower base. If Red Bull says to Sobil, “Hey, we’re willing to give $100 of Red Bull every month to our follower for advertising,” there’s a real cash value to the consumer of $100. But the investment dollars from Red Bull is considerably less. And what business wouldn’t want to reward followers in the product or service that they’re offering? It changes the whole relationship. And there’s nothing more powerful in advertising than the spoken word of a satisfied person.
Looking at your website, it seems like you’re reaching out not only to businesses interested in advertising but to drivers as well?
Yes, we’re going to actually add another dimension to Sobil Media, where you can earn Sobil Rewards just for driving your car. Say you drive 300 miles in a month. You’ll be able to redeem rewards from those miles, just by driving. There’s no fee. There’s no catch to it. We’ll reward you Sobil Rewards for the amount of miles you drive, and you’ll be able to redeem offers from advertisers, like a free oil change, a free cup of coffee, all types of offers from advertisers we partner with.
How would the vehicle owner get the advertisements on their car? Would they have to take it somewhere?
All the advertisements are going to be professionally designed by authorized Sobil advertising agencies. It’s not going to look corny or cheap. Our plan is to partner with decal companies all throughout North America. We’d say, “There’s a window of time between Monday and Wednesday, when’s the best time to take your car down?” If the client allows, we’ll eventually go mobile. We could put the advertisement on at your place of work or your home in the evening. We’re trying to make it easy for the driver so they don’t have to take a day out and try to get there car to someplace to get the installation done.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced getting this started?
The biggest challenges have just been normal early adopter objections, like, “Will I have to drive any advertisement?” Obviously there’s no obligation to the driver. You can say no to any campaign. You can say yes to any campaign. There’s no obligation to the driver to drive any brand. People are always wired to think there’s a catch. But there’s no catch.You just drive as you drive, you love the brand, you drive responsibly, all the things that 98% of people would do anyway.
If you’re interested in becoming a Sobil driver register at www.sobilmedia.com and start earning Sobil Rewards. Check out their Twitter page to keep up-to-date and connected.