Bus branding takes rural marketing many a mile: Rural marketing expert Prashant Mandke
By Pray Jani - February 11, 2020
The quality of bus media is improving everywhere
Speaking at the 2nd Transit Media Talks conference held in Mumbai on February 6, Prashant Mandke, Advisor, Social Impact Initiatives, Rural Marketing, highlighted the efficacy of bus media advertising in rural marketing initiatives. “It is the best connecting medium in Rural India,” said Prashant, adding that “there are about 640,000 villages in the country, where bus transport serves over 70 million people daily. Today, state transport authorities across the country operate over 150,000 buses and each bus station has about 25,000-40,000 footfall per day.” Speaking about the profile of the travellers, he says they are largely students and farmers.
Almost 36% of passengers travel more than once a week and about 45% passengers spend 15-20 minutes at the bus stand. The peak hours are long, from 6AM to 10AM, and thereafter 5PM to 8PM. Due to the higher dwell time of passengers at the bus stand there is good window for brand engagement at those locations. “That is a very potent combination of reach and frequency,” he explained.
Prashant pointed out that marketers always had concerns about the maintenance of displays / branding and their longevity, but that’s changing with new and well-designed buses being introduced by the transport corporations. “Agencies and media planners need to take a hard look this medium,” he said, while adding that brands which have used media on buses and at bus stands are Parle, Mondelez, Emami, to name a few.
Today, bus stands are offering audio announcements and video displays, both facilitating significant consumer engagement opportunities, said Prashant. “Media on the bus and those at a bus stand need to be considered as one. A bus with 50 seats moves from from one bus stand to another. And at each bus stand, hundreds of buses come and go. There is a lot of advertising opportunities in this space if done innovatively.”