Carvertise founders Mac Nagaswami (left) and Greg Star developed a campaign with Anas Ben Addi and Matt Heckles of the Delaware State Housing Authority. (Photo courtesy of Carvertise)
by Kathy Canavan
The Delaware State Housing Authority is getting its message out about home down payment assistance.
They wrap cars in advertisements.
In this attention economy, the Housing Authority and four other state-funded agencies have contracted with Carvertise to monitor their advertising. The fast-growing Wilmington company pays drivers $ 100 a month to put advertising stickers on their cars.
Matt Heckles, director of housing finance for the authority, said they had tried other methods to get their point across.
They rented billboards: “The first time you walk past a billboard, you look at it. The second time around, you don’t look because you think you know what’s on it ”.
They packed buses: “With a similar budget, we could get one or two buses packed, and they are traveling on a fixed route. “
The housing authority has moved away from what it calls state-style advertising. Their new brand concept, imagined at a staff meeting, is a little more daring – “Kiss Your Landlord Goodbye”.
When Heckles met Carvertise CEO Mac Nagaswami at a downtown development event last year, he said he liked what he heard: “It sounded pretty awesome to me. Heckles said. “We want to get people’s attention and we thought we could tell them more about our programs once we get their attention.”
State advertising now accounts for about a third of Carvertise’s revenue. They helped the four-year company grow from $ 210,000 in revenue in 2015 to more than in January 2016 alone.
Nagaswami said agencies like that Carvertise is using agency members to get their messages out to other voters.As Heckles said, “It’s kind of social media.”
“We have had tangible and traceable success within the state departments we have worked with,” Carvertise’s Nagaswami said. “You are working successfully with a department within state and other departments of state that also have the same marketing needs, realize it’s a very natural connection to cross that vertical.”
Carvertise, at any given time, has between 75 and 150 cars on the road in Delaware and Philadelphia. The number varies depending on whether a campaign begins and another ends.
The long-term strategy of the company is focus on contracting with the State, higher education and health organizations.“They suit us well because they all enjoy outdoor advertising and they’re all geographically linked, but the most important factor is that they’re all well-received social causes,” Nagaswami said. “If you are using the community to get your messages across, it is very important that we work with well-received institutions.”
So far, their government clients include the Housing Authority, the University of Delaware, the Department of Education, the State Tourism Board, and the Delaware Council on Gambling.Their healthcare clients include Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Christiana Care Health System. In addition to the University of Delaware, the company’s cars also advertise the University of Wilmington.
Mikayla Paul drives a car which advertises help is available through the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems. (Photo courtesy of Carvertise)
Nagaswami said he turned down some companies because he didn’t think they were the right alignment for Carvertise – title loans, surety, a liposuction clinic.
When the housing authority first signed a $ 34,500 contract with Carvertise in 2015, officials appreciated Carvertise’s analyzes, which show when and where cars go, and the fact that about 20% of the money they paid went back into the pockets of the Delawareans who were commissioned.
And the 16 drivers, who are paid $ 100 a month, weren’t just driving. When passers-by had questions, they handed them a brochure from the housing department.
“It’s a bit shocking when you see one of these cars. Each car has nothing written on it, so you look at them,” Heckles said. “It’s not uncommon for us to have a staff meeting to talk about the Carvertise campaign because someone will say, ‘I was driving on the road and saw one of your cars. ”
Heckles spotted cars wrapped in the ad when he dropped his kids off at school in the Home Depot parking lot and in the parking lot at work.
The first phase of the campaign – July through December – had cars traveling between US 40 and North Del. 2 which houses the highest concentration of homes that the average authority customer can afford. The second phase, a one-year contract of $ 78,900, put 20 vehicles on the road in New Castle County, MOT and Dover. This summer, the authority will pay $ 5,000 to put five cars on Delaware beaches for the season.
Heckles said there was another benefit to using Carvertise: “Some of our marketing investment actually goes back into the pockets of the people of Delaware when they sign up to drive the cars. This is something that we really like very much.
During the current 20-car campaign, $ 24,000 of the Housing Authority payment will go to Delawarens working as drivers.
The Delaware Department of Education has also contracted with Carvertise to market its job postings. He paid $ 6,600 to pack six cars for two months last year. The cars surrounded the University of Delaware.
The Delaware Center for Gambling Problems, a nonprofit organization that receives state funds, currently has Carvertise vehicles statewide with a logo designed by AB + C Creative Intelligence in Wilmington.
Their succinct message is tailored for passing glances:“Get better. Before your car is your home.”