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Well, 2017 is certainly starting off on the right note!

First day back in the office since the New Year’s holiday, and before even arriving I received an email from an old acquaintance congratulating me for being named one of Forbes Magazine’s “Standout” members on its influential “30 Under 30” list.

I’m not going to claim it was a total surprise, since I flew out to New York city last month for a photo session and video interview, but I’ve also learned in my professional life that no deal is complete until you’ve got it signed on the dotted line and no media coverage is guaranteed until you see it on the page (or screen).

Even then, there were 30 talented people honored in the Marketing and Advertising category, and I had no idea I would be named #1 and part of Forbes elite “Standout” list–I had hopes, but no clue.

But now that it’s here, and real, I’m proud to share it with you and thank Forbes for the great honor. It’s beyond flattering and humbling to be classified as a “young innovator redefining marketing and advertising.”

I also have to fully acknowledge that there is no way I would have won the recognition without the great team we assembled at Wrapify–my co-founder and brilliant technology talent Tim Flack and our great sales force led by savvy out-of-home veteran Scott Elliott. All of the hard working people who make sure cars get wrapped and on the road in time, and manage the books and drivers. And all our contracted drivers, who are Wrapify’s backbone.

Finally, of course, Wrapify’s clients. I want to thank our clients–too many to list here, for fear of leaving somebody worthy off the list–for a great 2016. It was a year that proved Wrapify is a viable advertising platform, one that will thrive as part of a smart marketer’s ad budget, As Victor Hugo wrote: “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

So what can you expect from Wrapify in 2017? While nothing can ever be guaranteed, this is what we’ve got on our radar to make this year even better for brands and drivers than 2016.

  • Better Driver Segmentation: One of the biggest ongoing requests we’ve gotten from marketers has been to segment to specific vehicle makes and specific driver profiles. More to follow in the coming weeks!
  • More Core Area Impressions: Wrapify’s SWARM feature continues to be our most requested campaign feature. To enhance this feature on an ongoing basis and with less manual effort from our driver support team, our tech group is launching a new way of targeting core media impressions into very specific areas on an ongoing basis.
  • Audited Media Measurement: Wrapify provides advertisers robust, real-time data in a transparent online advertising dashboard that is unparalleled in the advertising industry. We want to continue to evolve our service and are currently pursuing partnerships that will deliver independent, 3rd party audited media impressions and results.
  • Wrapify’s first large-scale channel sales agreement: I can’t say much more than that, but hopefully will be able to soon… Very soon:)
  • More employees: More salespeople, ops folks and talented engineers to keep up with the demand and interest in the Wrapify platform. (We are hiring!)

2016 was a great year for Wrapify, but we have no plans to sit on our laurels and success. Doing well and proving the power of our idea has only made me more enthused to improve our product, service and satisfy our clients, and hire the best people.

It’s been a thrilling journey so far, but this is just the beginning of Wrapify’s success story. I appreciate all of you who’ve ridden with us so far, and there’s still lots of room for anyone who still wants to climb aboard.

Best wishes for a wonderful and successful 2017 to all of you!

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The Wrapify team was in Los Angeles last week for three days at the DMA “&THEN” global conference. The DMA is the nation’s largest and leading data and marketing association, and their annual conference gathers many of the industry’s top talents and visionaries. It was a great crowd.

Wrapify met hundreds of other interesting businesses and entrepreneurs, but the best moment was being named one of six winners of the DMA’s “Hot Zone” competition for the martech and adtech industries most promising startups. Wrapify will receive pilot programs with leading media data and marketing firms, including LiveRamp, Oracle and Involved Media.

DMA’s Hot Zone is one of two programs the association launched in the last year to accelerate adoption of emerging technologies and techniques that will deepen consumer engagement and achieve even more relevant content and marketing for consumers.

Wrapify emerged victorious from an original pool of 56 competing companies, 15 of which were invited to the &THEN conference to showcase their business and vision on the exhibit floor. From that 15, six winners advanced to the Battleground Competition and pitched in front of the event’s four judges–which included executives from Facebook and Oracle–and all conference attendees.

Wrapify “represented an amazing new and innovative way marketers can engage with their customers to deliver an impactful message,” said judge Cory Treffiletti, Vice President of Marketing and Partner Solutions, Oracle Data Cloud.

The organization said that Wrapify was recognized for “paying everyday consumer drivers to advertise on their car and providing advertisers with live data analytics, including impressions and geographic reach.”

That pretty much sums us up! We always like it when people “get” exactly what we are in such easy and straightforward terms.

Wrapify has won numerous awards for our idea, vision and success, but I’ll tell you–this never gets old! We appreciate and are grateful for the DMA &THEN Conference Hot Zone award, and look forward to returning next year to meet more of our peers and great new companies in the martech and adtech space.

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We always enjoy a good reason to head to New York City, and the end of September offers an intriguing one: Advertising Week, which runs last week of this month, the 26th through the 30th.

Our team will be there in full force!

We expect to be able to share a piece of very good news by that point, maybe even two pieces of good news. But most of all we want to meet people we know and people we don’t, to share why the Wrapify platform is resonating with brands and American drivers.

Please let me repeat that last part, because it’s very important for advertisers, the media and the general public to know the truth: The Wrapify platform is resonating with American Drivers.

Here’s why: The Wrapify platform has struck such a chord with American drivers that our demand from drivers has outdistanced our supply of campaigns.

Even while there have been Wrapify campaigns running with up to hundreds of cars in 27 markets for brands like Bud Light, eBay and ZipCar to GhostBed and Petco, we don’t yet have enough campaigns on the road to fulfill all of 35,000+ drivers who have signed up to be Wrapify drivers.

Americans have recognized Wrapify offers an organic way to put extra money in their pocket by doing exactly what they’d be doing anyway — commuting, running errands, etc…

We’ve gotten all kinds of great comments from our drivers, who tell us what they’re doing with the extra cash: Paying down their car payment or student loan. Taking their family out to dinner. Setting some aside for vacation.

That makes us feel good.

Also, brands and agencies alike LOVE the data they get from their Wrapify dashboard. The real-time data, impressions and visibility this novel OOH platform provides is more than traditional OOH can shake a stick at.  Taking a digital approach to solving an age-old problem in OOH is one of the reasons we went into business in the first place!

So that’s what we’d like to talk to people about when we’re in New York. Getting your brand seen. Getting it on the road. Putting money in the pockets of good, hard-working Americans who need a little extra cash. It’s a win for everybody. What’s not to like?

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We had to laugh at the badly reasoned article in Advertising Age last week from Carrot Creative’s VP-Communications Len Kendall, “The Next Big Mobile Ad Platform — Your Car.”  

We think Len is late to the party — your car’s not the “next big mobile ad platform,” Len, it’s already here and being capitalized upon. This is an example of a myopic digital agency bias that embraces technology simply for technology’s sake while ignoring what’s already been proven to work, to the point of being painfully unaware of the huge strides that have already been made on the out-of-home platform and the businesses springing up around it.

Len writes that self-driving cars are going to change the outdoor advertising business because people will no longer look at billboards and focus on their phones or other screens. It presumes that billboards will stop evolving when we already know the opposite is true.

If anything billboards and traditional OOH will become more contextual, interacting with self-driving cars’ passive passengers on their devices, and personalizing the experience.

There’s also the more straightforward fact that when drivers don’t have to keep their eyes glued to the road, they may also choose to spend more time looking at the world around them. Not everybody who rode the bus in the 1950s was reading a newspaper, some liked to watch the world go by and think, and the same will be true of car owners who aren’t car drivers.

We would give Len credit for suggesting ad networks will spring up around vehicular ad network platforms, except that … it’s already happened and Wrapify is proving every day there’s money to be made there.

He suggests “augmented reality” on car windows will be the new billboards when it will surely be more cost effective (and eye-catching) to wrap vehicles completely with a colorful marketing message that encompasses the entire car, not just the window.

Do you think people would rather look out the windows of their car and see the world around them, including wrapped vehicles advertising a brand, or be trapped in their car, unable to see out because an ad covers the window? The answer seems self-evident.

Carrot’s top communication person also tips his bias by opening with an oblivious endorsement of self-driving cars as a lifesaver, but chooses not to mention that there have been a couple deaths so far as well. He also fails to note that not everybody’s so thrilled with the idea of driverless cars, as well as the potential loss of personal control.

There’s a lot wrong with Len Kendell’s AdAge article, but what’s worst about it is how it fundamentally fails clients with the pledged promise of what’s coming, when the answer is already here.

As chronicled in many, many leading advertising and marketing publications — Adweek, TechCrunch, Business Insider, MediaPost and many others — Wrapify is the “Uber for Advertisers” that’s already turned your car into a mobile ad platform through technology, and has the clients, data analytics and drivers (and over $300,000 in driver payouts!) to prove it.

Wrapify has revolutionized the OOH business by tracking our drivers in real time while they do their ordinary daily driving. We use telemetry data from the car to track drivers' real-time location on a map, and pair it with anonymized data from other sources to understand how many cars nearby see the message.

This is happening now, it’s working spectacularly well for advertisers, more and more of whom are getting on the platform by the month. Wrapify is in 27 markets (including all the major ones) and has over 35,000 drivers signed up.

The fact that somebody could write an article like what appeared in Advertising Age without any acknowledgment of what’s happening in the category already is as revealing of the writer as it is about the digital agency mindset in general. Some people are so focused on what’s next, they can't get out of their comfort zone to realize what's now. And Wrapify is leading the charge in revolutionizing the outdoor industry now. 

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It’s been a great month for Wrapify and our drivers. We celebrated a successful first year anniversary in July, added pioneering sharing economy company Zipcar as a client, and now have been able to deliver upon the number-one request from Wrapify drivers and wannabe drivers:

As touted in Wednesday’s edition of AdExchanger, Wrapify’s Android app is here.

The news at last brings a happy response to the #1 question Wrapify is asked by our drivers — When are you going to have an Android app?

Until this week, all Wrapify drivers were limited to using an Apple phone, because our initial app was developed on iOS. We love Apple, got a bunch of Apple fanboys in the office, but our sentiments aren’t necessarily shared across the spectrum of Wrapify drivers — two-thirds of the people who sign up for Wrapify use Android.

That’s completely reasonable and understandable. According to Comscore, Android users in the United States outnumber iOS users roughly 53 to 44 percent (with Microsoft, Blackberry, etc., gathering the leftover crumbs). Globally, that figure is far more divergent, with Android holding a 83 to 14 percent dominance (a figure to keep in mind when Wrapify goes global).

We’ve gotten some numbers from Lyft’s PR team, which tells us 54% of the car sharing service’s drivers are on Android, 46% on iOS.  We’ve likewise got a query into Uber, but they’ve not yet gotten back to us. We did find one extremely limited piece of circumstantial evidence on an Uber driver forum that Android is used significantly more than iOS, roughly 3-1.

On the passenger side, for what it’s worth and while we have your attention, Android users who have downloaded Lyft dominate iOS — roughly 85K have rated the app on Google play, vs. 25K on  iTunes. The ration is far more even, a slight preference for Apple on Uber, 32K iTunes downloads vs. 25K from Google Play. Considering Uber leads the market, those numbers have got to be suspect somehow, though.

Another information nugget: Neither the Uber app nor the Lyft app gets great ratings from users, and only a hairsbreadth separates them — according to ARC, Lyft sits at a 60 rating and Uber at 59. The latter number is the average of the top 48 apps, incidentally.

No matter how you play the numbers, though, Android is obviously just as critical to the sharing economy as Wrapify is becoming. Wrapify heard our drivers loud and clear, and we’ve embraced the request and delivered.

Since Wrapify’s client base continues to expand and we need to get every driver who wants to drive for us on the road through the platform they prefer, Android is now a reality.

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Wrapify is pleased to share the news that Zipcar is our latest client, rolling out substantial campaigns in Seattle and Washington, D.C., in the past week. But we’re especially glad that ADWEEK broke the news first.

We’ve been trying to politely persuade ADWEEK for months to write about Wrapify, but not really been able to crack the nut with a story angle they liked. But with Zipcar also being part of the 1099 economy and Wrapify’s continuing displays of success (like adding more cities — now 25 — and drivers — 35K), we finally connected on a newsworthy narrative.

As we talked to the reporter, it was clear he “got” what sets Wrapify apart from businesses who’d tried the wrapped car route before. The story lays it out in one sentence: “Wrapify uses telemetry data from the car to track drivers' real-time location on a map, and pairs it with anonymized data from other sources to understand how many cars nearby see the message.” Boom.

ADWEEK even notes how Wrapify measures offline reach with CPMs, “much like tech giants Facebook and Twitter do online,” and that our CPM’s cost about a buck each. It quotes from our case study for Petco, where “4,000 miles of driving logged nearly 8.8 million impressions at $1.13 eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions). A campaign for TriNet that totaled 24,000 campaign miles delivered 66.5 million impressions with an eCPM of $1.08.”

So this is excellent news all around — the Zipcar news and the news it made news. Wrapify is grateful to add Zipcar to our slate of excellent, forward-thinking brands and marketers: eBay, Petco, Harrah’s, TriNet, GhostBed and Quest Nutrition, among many other clients.

Otherwise, as the ADWEEK story notes, business continues to go very well for Wrapify. We’ve hired more people and expect to announce several new campaigns for well-known brands and perhaps even politician(s) in the next month or two.

Brands we’ve both worked with and not (yet) have noted Wrapify is the right idea in the right place at the right time. The convergence of technology and societal evolution in the sharing economy enables empowered drivers to use their car as a natural and organic form of income, while tech advancements have empowered analytical insights as never before.

Our idea and its timing are so strong that Wrapify was named by both Inc. and Business Insider as one of the best startups of 2015, and things have only accelerated and gotten better since. Launched a year ago in San Francisco and San Diego, Wrapify has quickly expanded to 25 markets, with more regions to come.

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