I got in a taxi last night to go down to China Town. Could have got the bus, yes, but I was caught in that annoying 20 minutes where only the buses you don’t want come flying by the stop. So I hailed a cab and sat back to enjoy the ride.
Then, to my left, I noticed what appeared to be a phone fixed on to the side of the taxi’s window frame.
I looked closely and saw an ‘O2 UK’ indicator, along with signal strength and a text message indicator.
Strange, I thought.
Then I looked at the adverts on the seats in front of me.
Directly ahead, I saw this:
No charge. Use the taxiphone and call for free. It’s next to the door on your left.
Call for free? Ohhh.
Here’s the picture:
Here’s the phone stuck into the window frame:
That’s particularly cool. HIGHLY cool, in fact. Instead of just doing the usual adverts, it appears o2 have taken advertising to the next level. It’s interactive! You can actually USE their service. No cost. Wow. Really smart.
I imagine the phone is configured to only call mobile numbers and landlines within the UK, but fair-enough. If you’re on a long journey or, well, let’s face it — with today’s London traffic, almost any journey is long — you can dial home or call your friend for a natter. Above the phone was a microphone and speaker, just like the kind you get on a normal car phone. I wonder how many taxis they have installed this into. Maybe just a few to test out the response. Imagine if they put this in every taxi. What brilliant, brilliant marketing, or as Michael Tchong has it, ‘tryvertising’, for them.
I’m rather impressed at o2 for doing this. It’s changed my impression of them. Yes, I still think their data rates are nothing short of ridiculous, but I like this gesture. I do also think that whoever does their public relations is nicht gut, as they say in Germany. I really get annoyed finding out about these sort of things by personally witnessing them. I’d have liked to have known about this at launch date, whenever that was, so I could have documented it earlier. Anyway, it’s still cool.
Then, I looked to the seat advert on the right of the cab and saw this:
Recharge. To recharge your mobile, ipod or Blackberry, just ask the driver to open the hatch on your left.
Now that is double genius. Here’s the pic:
Obviously, I then turned left as instructed by the advert, and saw this:
The recharge facility is integrated into the armrest. The driver unlocks that for you and you simply open the armrest to reveal a plethora of charge leads. Again, absolutely tip-top fantastic if you need a bit of extra juice when you’re going from A to B.