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Novel car sticker advertising gives car owners P1,000 monthly free gas

Alternative marketers: My Free Gas partner couples Jacque and Doby Atillano, and Charisse and Jibby Tinio

MANILA, Philippines - Ever since he started racing cars as a hobby, Doby Atilano, a global financial planner, has been paying his own way. His racing expense goes up to several thousand per competition, a cost race enthusiasts are only too willing to pay to indulge their need for speed. Of this amount, so much goes to gas.

Doby Atilano is the 2009 overall champion of the Philippine Production Car Championship.

One time, an executive for a gas manufacturer approached him for a possible sponsorship. In exchange for 100 liters of gasoline, all he had to do was stick the company’s logo on his racecar. It was a small price to pay for gas.

It was the “A-ha!” moment Atilano needed to realize a long-standing dream of setting up a self-sustaining business that would support the public. It was the seed for My Free Gas, a novel marketing company that gives the car-driving public P1,000 worth of free gas every month in exchange for carrying the sticker of an advertiser.

My Free Gas is a company that promotes an alternative way for corporations to advertise its products.

“Corporations have money to market their products,” says Atilano. “We are keen on helping them increase their exposure, supplementing the billboard ads available on the road at lower costs. In addition we are equally committed to giving back to the people something tangible for ‘carrying a brand’ — Free Gas.”

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My Free Gas is barely a month old, and already the car-owner membership base on its Facebook page is starting to swell. Apart from Atilano, who is president of the company, My Free Gas is jointly owned by Charisse Tinio, who is its CEO, Atilano’s wife, Jacque Dinglasan-Atilano, and Tinio’s husband, Jibby.

All a car owner has to do is log on to myfreegas.com.ph and register his car. A car owner can sign up to five cars. It takes no more than a minute or two to register. All details about car make, color, daily route, average monthly mileage and gasoline expense are collated into a database that will be used to match the target profile chosen by an advertiser. Once your car matches the needs of an advertiser, the car owner will get a call with instructions on how to get his sticker.

The sticker measures 20x3.5 inches and will be positioned on either the rear bumper or windshield of a car. The sticker has a serial number and is tamper-resistant. It is made with a special adhesive that will not affect the finish of your car when removed. All stickers will only have the logo or website of an advertiser. My Free Gas will not allow inappropriate images to be used on the sticker.

For car owners interested in signing up for the program, you must travel a minimum of 300 kms. per month. Per estimate of Atilano’s wife, Jacque, an average family with one car, with either parent driving to and from office, and two children brought to and from school, can easily rack up a mileage of 300 kms. in less than a month.

This early, My Free Gas has already signed up Rapidé and Caltex as their strategic partners. Rapidé will attach the sticker to the participating cars and key in the sticker’s serial number to a web-based monitoring system, and will also be the only authorized agency to remove the sticker at the end of the month or at the end of a contract. Caltex will be supplying the free gas for all car-owner participants. The free gas will be given at the end of the month in the form of a Caltex Starcard.

While similar car/mobile advertising systems exist within Metro Manila, unlike My Free Gas, they don’t offer advertisers a control system that will allow them to monitor the mileage of each car assigned under their corresponding ad campaign 24/7.

Companies that use My Free Gas can choose exactly where they want their car ad to run, who exactly they want based on age, gender, occupation and more, all depending on their own target market or demographic requirement. Rather than spending millions in traditional marketing channels that have grown very expensive throughout the years, My Free Gas offers a more direct way of marketing products. With My Free Gas, companies are sure that their message gets through straight to their target customers.

“As an advertiser, you want to see where your money goes,” says Tinio. “You want to make sure that your ads are seen by your target market.” This tool can be used by large and small to medium enterprises alike due to its low cost compared to other media tools available on the roads today. SMEs can advertise given their small marketing budgets, while large companies can use it to supplement their traditional billboard campaigns, increase exposure in the streets as well as further move towards being a more socially responsible institution.

Once an advertiser enrolls with My Free Gas, they are given a login password that will tell them exactly on what cars and where their stickers are. Rapidé will provide them with adequate documentation at the beginning and end of the month to prove that the stickers were on the cars. An advertisers’ website will also be linked to the My Free Gas website.

Atilano says this is the first of its kind in the world. No other marketing program offers both advertisers and car owners a win-win situation.

“I, too, have a business, and I am frustrated with the cost of marketing,” says Atilano. “This is a way to specifically target the market you want at a fraction of a cost. This is an alternative marketing channel. It is the way to go now.”

To register and know more about My Free Gas, visit www.myfreegas.com.ph.

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