Richard Baker (Adhesive Media) with Sarah Stewart (NGI)
Uniquethinking PR team

Entrepreneur’s taxi advertising platform gets green light

A young businessman from Newcastle is gearing up with his first client after launching a sophisticated in-taxi advertising platform in the city.

Richard Baker, director of Jesmond-based Adhesive Media, has spent two years creating The City Portal, combining innovative in-taxi screen advertising with a free smartphone app and website, and has confirmed that destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is the first organisation to sign up for the service.

The system, which Richard has developed with fellow directors Sal Sinawi, Jonathan Lawrence and John Roberts, uses state-of-the-art multimedia advertising display screens in taxis, which enable businesses to promote their brands and messages to captive audiences as they travel into the city.

The accompanying website offers downloadable discount vouchers, free online codes, a venue finder function, an events calendar and a ticket booking option. The free app lists local discounts and includes a taxi icon which can automatically call one of The City Portal’s registered taxi firms.

The system is expected to reach at least 110,000 people per month by combining in-taxi advertising with the website and app mediums.

Richard, 26, a former Northumbria University student, has lived in Newcastle since moving up from Stamford to study Construction Management in the city. He was first inspired to bring the new advertising medium to Newcastle following a trip to New York when he noticed the screens inside The Big Apple’s famous yellow cabs.

Richard said: “Ever since coming to Newcastle as a student, I’ve loved living in such a compact and friendly city, and I believe that in-taxi screen advertising provides an ideal medium to promote all that the area has to offer.

“Through integrating the screens with our comprehensive website and app, visitors and locals alike can stay engaged with The City Portal after their taxi journey is over, and discover where the best deals are at any given time.

“We’re thrilled to welcome NGI as our first client and look forward to working with them to spread the word about upcoming events and great deals in the city.”

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NGI, said: “We are delighted to be working with Adhesive Media on this exciting new project.

“NGI recently took over responsibility for the delivery of visitor information in the destination, and this innovative idea fits perfectly with our strategy of getting information out to where visitors are.

“We want to ensure that people get the best, most up to date information about what is going on in NewcastleGateshead, and using advertising space in a taxi is an ideal way of achieving this.

“Our adverts will promote the various ways visitors can get this information, including our website, i-phone app and the Visitor Information Centre, and will also highlight major events, such as the Juice festival, taking place during October half-term.”

Mark Renwick of Newcastle-based company Beagle Digital played a vital role in the website and app construction for The City Portal.

Richard said: “Mark has been a pleasure to work with and I could not have asked for more from a developer. The finished product is testament to his hard work and dedication.”

The in-taxi adverts are displayed on 8-inch screens which are mounted into specially designed headrests. The screens, which use 3G technology, are set to timed playlists so that advertisers can target specific audiences, including early morning shoppers, the coffee and lunchtime trade, and evening visitors heading to bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas.

Adhesive Media is also able to produce professional animated and filmed video adverts for customers, if they do not have a ready-made advert, at a fraction of the usual production cost.

Prior to setting up Adhesive Media, Richard worked at Cramlington-based event delivery company Useful Productions for two years as a production and logistics manager. He plans to employ three more members of staff in six months’ time and hopes to eventually expand into other UK cities.

LA Taxis will be the first Newcastle firm to feature the screens, having signed up 40 of its taxi cabs.

Business development manager Stephen McGuinness from LA Taxis said: “Passengers often ask us about good local haunts and this is a useful way of drawing their attention to nearby deals and discounts. We’re pleased that users will be able to get in touch with us directly through using the app too.”

The City Portal is offering a half price discount for new customers who sign up for the Essential Package, including one month of advertising on 40 screens, and two months listed on the app and website, for a total of £175 without video production (usually £350), or £200 with video production (usually £400).

To download the free app, search for The City Portal on the App Store or Android Marketplace.

For more information about The City Portal, visit www.thecityportal.co.uk and follow @thecityportal on Twitter.

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