Posted: 28th August, 2014
Can Taxi Top advertising take its place in the digital ranks?
Taxis have been around in London since 1621, when the first documented ‘Hackney Coach’ appeared. The name Hackney is commonly thought to derive from the (then) small collection of hamlets to the east of London, though others think it came from the particular breed of horses that pulled the carriages. The Hackney Horse breed was developed in the 14th century in Norfolk when the King of England required powerful but attractive horses with an excellent trot, though the name Hackney here is thought to derive from the French word ‘hacquenée’, meaning a general purpose horse (literally ‘ambling nag’)!
Sadly the Hackney horse breed is in danger of extinction, but the taxi’s that carry its name have gone from strength to strength. Like any breed that survives the ravages of time, they have had to evolve and adapt to their surroundings.
Motorisation came in the form of electric cabs in the end of the 19 Century, and petrol engines a few years later. Advertising on taxis though is a relatively new phenomenon; taxi-tops were introduced on New York City in the mid 1970s, whist advertising on London cabs has hitherto been mainly based on seat backs, side panels or whole body wraps.
Ironically, Taxi advertising has never been the most glamorous face of out of home media, despite its premium audience reach. New York’s taxi-tops seem mostly to advertise ‘Gentlemen’s Clubs’, whilst taxi wraps can get damaged and are less visible at night or in traffic. With impacts and reach difficult to measure, and wraps expensive and cumbersome to keep updated, the industry also suffered from a few rogue operators in it’s early years giving it a less than pristine reputation.