Sharkfin adds wraps to its taxi advertising services

Taxi ad company looks for one-two punch on city streets

Chris Powell May 14, 2014

Toronto’s Sharkfin Networks has added some extra bite to its taxi advertising offering.

Sharkfin CEO Dirk Bhagat

The two-year-old company, which operates illuminated 48-inch by 14-inch taxi top signs on just over 600 cabs throughout Toronto and Montreal – as well as a tour bus advertising network in Vancouver – has introduced a new taxi wrap product.

“We’ve seen a lot of demand for the taxi tops, and bringing the wraps to market essentially provides our customers with a larger canvas,” said CEO Dirk Bhagat. He calls the combination of a wrap with the taxi topper “a one-two punch.”

SharkFin is launching its newest product with 10-week campaigns for two clients, 411.ca and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. The wraps will include 30 cars to start, with an undisclosed portion carrying the ads through the remainder of the year.

Bhagat did not disclose a rate card for the wraps, but said “we’re interested in making this work for our customers at an economic price,” he said. “There’s no point in over-pricing the product and not seeing the type of adoption we hope to see.”

Sharkfin’s research into taxi advertising in other North American markets found that a wrapped taxi is capable of delivering up to 10,000 impressions per day, although Bhagat called that is an “extremely conservative” estimate. The company’s target audience is adults 18-34 with disposable income.

Bhagat said there is a natural synergy between certain advertising categories and taxi advertising, such as travel and alcohol brands.

Sharkfin Networks is one of several companies that have introduced taxi advertising in the past decade, many of which have since quietly faded away. “The reality is that it’s a challenging industry,” said Bhagat. “I can’t speak to other companies that were in the space prior to us, but maybe it’s a matter of timing. It could very well be that now’s the time, and five years ago it wasn’t.”