Firefly operates a network of advertising screens on top of rideshare vehicles. Kaan Gunay, Firefly’s CEO and Co-founder, told Mel Stott recently how his DOOH network brings results to advertisers and helps local communities .
Firefly rideshare DOOH screens
Please tell us about the history of Firefly.
When my co-founder, Onur Kardeşler, and I started this company in 2017, we aimed to bring to fruition a business model that was effective, innovative and community-centric.
That’s how we came to Firefly: a smart city media network that provides a win-win-win solution for the modern community by benefiting people, governments and local businesses.
Our business is simple: we work directly with rideshare drivers to install our proprietary displays to deliver highly effective advertising campaigns. Equipped with specialized sensors, our technology delivers the right brand message at the right time. It is difficult to grab the attention of city dwellers today. We believe that we have found a way to cut through the clutter.
The technology behind our screens guarantees that commercial messages target the desired audiences directly. The system uses driver routes, area demographics and traffic patterns to determine the types of campaigns and ad frequency.
You mentioned that your DOOH network helps communities. How does it work?
Firefly is more than just an ad-tech company. By partnering with drivers and municipalities, we are changing the scope of what media networks can do. Our model allots 10% of its inventory to those traditionally locked out from conventional advertising campaigns. We donate space to local non-profit organizations, public sector PSAs and local businesses. In this way, we ensure that our screens are used not just to run advertising for brands, but also to support the community.
How receptive are rideshare drivers to attaching the digital signs to the top of their vehicles? Are off-duty drivers required to keep them on the car?
When we install or adjust their Firefly screens, we take into account drivers’ concerns. In our experience, most drivers are comfortable with the idea of attaching our screens atop their personal vehicles, especially because they understand the value it provides: roughly 20% more in free cash flow to their monthly bottom line.
While off-duty drivers are encouraged to keep Firefly screens on their cars, we understand that certain drivers have their specific preferences, and we accommodate those. However, this is rarely an issue simply because uninstalling and reinstalling screens takes time, which can be an inconvenience to a busy Firefly driver.
In what cities is Firefly operating, and big is your network?
We are currently operating in both LA and San Francisco. While we cannot disclose how many screens we have in our network, we have amassed more than 110,000 hours on the road and executed more than 50 advertising campaigns for name brands like Brex, Sam’s Club, and HotelTonight, prior to its acquisition by Airbnb.
To date, Firefly has seen over 50% growth quarter over quarter with the addition of new advertisers every week in each market.
We have plans to expand our market reach — so prepare to see more of our screens supporting even more communities.
You said you work with municipal governments in various ways. What are they?
We work with municipalities in order to benefit local citizens. Firefly is at the forefront of the smart city movement, as we continue to explore the addition of smart city sensors into our current screen models. These sensors will provide a variety of data for smarter city planning and growth. The data is ranging from air quality, to inform greener city planning decisions, to temperature gauges and accelerometers to provide insights into pavement conditions, street lighting and more.
For example, the San Francisco Department of Public Works has used Firefly to promote StreetTreeSF. StreetTreeSF is a new public service that professionally maintains and cares for more than 124,000 street trees in the city. Our campaign received two million impressions and 625 hours of exposure in five different neighborhoods over four weeks.
A councilman in Los Angeles wants to pass an ordinance banning digital signage from the top of rideshare vehicles and taxi cabs. What is your reaction to this, and do you plan to take any action to fight the proposal?
Los Angeles rideshare and taxi drivers continue to face an uphill battle, dealing with severe wage decline due to market stagnation and myriad other factors.
While this plight is in no way unique to Los Angeles, the way in which the city’s local officials have responded is both shocking and disappointing. Rather than support struggling taxi drivers, the LA City Council proposed to ban digital car-top advertising. This would make it harder for full-time drivers to make ends meet.
We at Firefly don’t believe digital rooftop ads are the magic solution to every problem facing taxi drivers, by any means. However, an extra $3,600 per year, without the need for additional hours on the road, helps to alleviate their strain. They can spend this extra income on basic necessities – gas money, car insurance. For some, it could mean the difference between financial security and hardship.
According to a recent study, rooftop digital advertising has the potential to stimulate the LA economy by up to $16M. Firefly is a modern way to support both the old and new wave of contract workers, from taxi to rideshare drivers. We believe that all full-time drivers should be able to make a living wage and support their families, and we’ve experienced a flood of support from such drivers.
We are aiming to make our program and its benefits more accessible to rideshare and taxi drivers across the country. And what we do to help the residents of LA is no different.
In short – we stand by our drivers and are focused on financial opportunity and equity in every Firefly market.
What opportunities does Firefly DOOH network offer advertisers?
As mentioned above, Firefly’s secret sauce is in our proprietary technology. Taking into account driver routes, local demographics and traffic patterns, our geolocation-equipped sensors guarantee advertisers are getting their messages delivered to their target audiences. This results in highly-effective campaigns.
But big businesses aren’t the only players that benefit from our services. As I mentioned earlier, we allocate a minimum of 10 percent of all inventory to promote and advertise local non-profit organizations, public sector PSAs and other non-commercial entities such as charities, advocacy groups, and community organizations like AdCouncil. This ensures that organizations that typically cannot afford to pay for ad space, now have an effective platform to deliver their message.
Do you provide advertisers with any attribution metrics to demonstrate effectiveness?
Yes, we measure the effectiveness of our campaigns through a variety of metrics, including number of impressions, hours of exposure, number of neighborhoods/areas, and more.
To learn more about Firefly, visit: https://fireflyon.com/
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