Cab Drivers as Word-of-Mouth Marketers?

Imagine the cabbies playing the dual role of a ‘driver’ and a ‘product-marketer’. Recently, I had read in a blog-post that the company that sells ads on the outside of cars in London would now secretly pay money to the car drivers for product marketing. 

Questions are already being raised about ethics, integrity, merit and even possible spam. Rather than criticizing the move, lets try to look at it from an Indian perspective and see if we can draw some merits out of this.

  • In Delhi the move could be implemented in the ‘Autos’ and ‘DTC Buses’.
  • The drivers would act as ‘customer evangelists’ by sharing their experience of products they’ve used. This could be absolutely anything under the sun as long as the driver has used it or is planning to use it. It could range from a tooth-brush to television.
  • Several advertisements of different portals like ‘’, ‘‘ can be seen on Delhi’s Autos.
  • I think it would make some sense if the drivers can understand the purpose of these websites like mapmyindia, routeguru and even by helping the travellers to connect their real needs with these city-centric portals.

Coming back to the news story, at this stage all one can say is that it looks interesting. Perhaps the companies should portray drivers as ‘Customer Evangelists’ instead of Spammers 😉

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Filed under News, Product Marketing

7 responses to “Cab Drivers as Word-of-Mouth Marketers?

  1. Hi!. Thanks a bunch for the info. I’ve been digging around for info, but i think i’m getting lost!. Yahoo lead me here – good for you i guess! Keep up the great information. I will be coming back in a few days to see if there is any more info.

  2. Pingback: Boxing » Cab Drivers as Word-of-Mouth Marketers?

  3. well that ‘leo’ was a school mate and he told me about the price during one of our ‘school days time pass chat’.

  4. daksh

    SAS (Statistical Analysis Software)/Sushaantu, Ashutosh and Sunaina thanks for chipping in with your thoughts 😉

    Sushaantu – I think its all about educating people in the community and enabling them to create value. That’s also applicable to Auto-Drivers. I’d love to hear more about your ‘leo’ friend.

    Ashutosh – Your 2 cents sum it up. It depends on the product category and market. You cannot make hay by selling ‘revlon’ to an average India. Be wise enough before shortlisting on your list.

    Sunaina – I guess the move’s been implemented in bits and pieces at some places. Mumbai for example is one city which I can recall from my experience (heavily loaded local trains). I guess, it is also there in apna Delhi’s Metro? (correct me if I am wrong out there). I have also seen a few long-distance trains in Bhusaval & Mumbai-Central (both in maharashtra) running with some advertisements. ‘Pepsi Blue Express’ thought is quite interesting 😉

  5. I remember reading in the Economics Times last year that the Indian Railways is thinking of renting out the outer surfaces of train compartments (in select trains of course) to advertisers. Another brainwave of Mr. Yadav for generating bulk revenue for the Indian Railways. So the word of mouth is actually going to be spread country wide. I think it was spurred after the Pepsi Blue Express incident. How’s that for word of mouth marketing?!

  6. Well,the idea seems fascinating.Lot of buses and autos actually advertise,whether they be TV serials like Dhoom Macha De or websites like Mouthshut or BigAdda. When it comes to product marketing, well, I am not sure whether they will be able to position the product to the right customer. Even people from middle class/lowerclass travel in buses and autos.Imagine,the auto driver marketing LAKME/Revlon to low class passengers,it can turn out to be perfect diaster.But, if they think of marketing lux,well,it just might work.The person marketing the product should take care of the audience he is catering to.

  7. the autodrivers have no idea about the power of marketing and thus agree to do this ‘sticker marketing’ for free usually.though the price is around 100 to 500 bucks if the news i received through one of my pompous ‘leo’ friend is right.

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