Halstead uses taxi rooftops as vehicle for advertising

By Candace Taylor | October 17, 2008 12:15AM

Halstead Property is taking its new advertising campaign to the streets.

Some 200 of the city’s new hybrid taxicabs are now displaying ads for the real estate company on rooftop digital video screens.

The double-sided LCD flat-screens first appeared atop New York City cabs in March. Though real estate firms have long advertised on taxi rooftops and on TVs inside the cabs, Halstead is the first to take advantage of the new LCD technology, according to Halstead President Diane Ramirez.

“They’re incredibly eye-catching,” Ramirez said. “You just can’t miss them. They’re above the sea of car roofs.”

The cabs with ads, which feature slogans from the company’s fall luxury ad campaign, were rolled out yesterday afternoon. The ads will run on a continuous loop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a month, minus two hours when the cabs are cleaned and refueled. The same ads will also be displayed on kiosks throughout the city starting Saturday.

“Name-dropping doesn’t sell high-end property,” one green-and-white ad reads. “We do.” The campaign was devised by Pool Inc., the same firm that oversaw Halstead’s 2006 brand overhaul.

The taxi campaign is part of Halstead’s new “S3” service for sellers of properties for more than $5 million. With S3, brokers meet with Halstead’s marketing department to create a customized plan for each property, then chart its progress through an online “marketing checklist,” which shows advertising initiatives and Web statistics for the listing, such as the daily number of visitors to the listing page.

“They don’t have to go to the agent and say, what’s been happening this week?” explained Robyn Kammerer, Halstead’s vice president of communications. “It allows the seller to have more control.”

Halstead is not the first company to advertise on taxi rooftops.

Christina Lowris, an executive vice president of marketing and advertising at the Corcoran Group, said Corcoran has advertised on taxi rooftops on and off for the past 10 years, though not in a digital format. For now, though, Corcoran is pleased with the success of its interior tax ads, she said, and may look to expand them in the future.

“We’ve had amazing success with the taxicab screen as a medium, so we’re going to stick with that,” she said. “You have a more captive audience in the back of a taxi than on top of a passing cab.”

Now is the ideal time to launch S3, Halstead’s Ramirez said, since sellers are looking for a more strategy-based approach in response to the softening real estate market.

“Now that everyone’s a little more anxious, the timing could not be more perfect for our message of service and accountability,” she said.

Though the campaign has been in the works for some time, the taxis will help spread the word, she said.

“We wanted to get the message out that our strategy and market plans, and this great accountability, is really what you need to sell property,” she said. “Sometimes you have to shout.”


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