Viraj Ratnalikar, is the Founder of Car Quids. Car Quids connects advertisers with drivers. You can follow Car Quids here.

Car advertising, or paying drivers to put advertisements on their car, is an idea that a lot of us have hadwhile in the pub. Car Quids started as exactly that – an idea kicked around by a group of friends while tucking into mash potato over a lazy weekend brunch. Founders Ed and Viraj, both economics graduates, set up a simple website to find out if the idea had legs that very evening.

Since then, four months have passed and over 4,000 drivers across 100 UK cities and towns have registered with Car Quids. Peer-to-peer car rental company, easyCar Club, is among the first advertisers that drivers will be matched with.

To sign up, drivers complete a quick registration form outlining who they are and their driving habits. This allows advertisers to select drivers and their cars based on a range of factors that include location, the kind of car they drive, where the car is parked, and the driver’s occupation.

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After an advertiser has selected the cars they would like to advertise on, Car Quids helps design adverts, prints them, and arranges for professional fitters to apply the specially printed stickers onto cars, ensuring that paint is not damaged and the car looks great. The condition of the cars and stickers is regularly monitored for the duration of the advertising campaign. As people see this it has the potential to intrigue them and visit the business, owners can then keep that promotion going by using eye-catching advertising directly outside the store with companies like National Signs, etc. adding to the flow of the campaign.

So why would advertisers want to use a car magnet to advertise rather than a taxi, bus or even a billboard? Some like being able to select cars based on where they are parked during the day. Others like being able to choose cars with the right driver – for example, protein supplement brands and personal trainers are a match made in heaven! The driver is a trusted ambassador for their product and naturally reaches the right audience for the brand. For startups, car advertising is a cost effective way of building up credibility in the offline world and reaching new audiences.

Car Quids drivers are busy parents, they are tradesmen, they are hospital workers and more. For most, their car is at the centre of their busy routine. The founders believe that it is precisely this ability to match advertisers with drivers who are passionate and well positioned to promote a particular brand or product that will set car advertising apart from other forms of outdoor advertising.

However, car advertising has never taken off in the UK in the way it has in the US where brands from Salesforce to McDonalds are using car advertising through a similar company, adverCar.

Why is now the right time for car advertising? A number of trends suggested that times are changing. For one, more of us are comfortable with the idea of the sharing economy and putting the assets we own to work. Motoring costs continue rising and car advertising means that your car pays for itself. Drivers are earning around £100 per month. Compared to the average insurance premium of £579 per year, drivers are quick to grasp the extent to which car advertising can help offset insurance as well as other motoring costs such as servicing, MOTs and road tax. Finally, the technology available today means that advertisers can see where cars have been driven and have a good idea of who has seen the advertisements and when. It’s now much easier to bring the analytical power of online advertising to the real world.

As more advertisers begin to use car advertising, Car Quids is aiming to subsidise lease prices on cars so that they cost the same as a smartphone contract. It will take a while to build this confidence. In the meantime, they say that their most important goal is to make sure that both advertisers and drivers have a great experience, understand How to apply a vehicle wrap, and ultimately want to use Car Quids again and again.