Business As Usual

My Free Gas offers big savings to car owners

- Jessica Mae Sanchez -

MANILA, Philippines - Who wouldn’t want free gas? With gasoline and diesel costs continually rising every month, car owners are always on the lookout for ways to save on their bills.

That’s how realtor Dean C. Prado and businessman Kirk Chester C. Damasco discovered My Free Gas and its unique advertising program. By just carrying the sticker of an advertiser on their car, car owners get P1,000 free gas every month.

Damasco said it was the offer of free gas that got his attention. With his monthly gas bills reaching up to P5,000, he found the proposal of My Free Gas worth trying.

“It has a great appeal since gas prices are going up these days,” he said.

Prado sees the offer of free gas a win-win situation for both car owners and advertisers.

“I like the concept that My Free Gas made,” said Prado. “I help in advertising a company by just sticking a sticker on my car, and it is not in conflict with my work. The best thing about it is that I get a gas card worth P1,000 just by doing that.”

My Free Gas is the brainchild of Doby Atilano, a global financial planner, who set up the business with his wife Jacque and friends Jibby and Charisse Tinio.

Atilano says not only do companies promote their brands via an alternative means, but they also help in subsidizing the fuel costs of the driving public. He sees this as an opportunity for companies to implement their CSR programs.

“Corporations have money to market their products,” says Atilano. “What our company wants to do is use the marketing budget of companies to subsidize the fuel costs of the driving public.”

My Free Gas 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 an alternative marketing channel to specifically target the market you want at a fraction of a cost.”

Companies can handpick the cars that would serve as their brand ambassadors. When car owners sign up at myfreegas.com.ph, they are asked to input details about car make, color, daily route, average monthly mileage and gasoline expense, as well as details about the car owners. All these are collated in a database so that companies can filter only cars and owners that match their intended target market.

Car owners signing up for the program are required to have a car that travels a minimum 300 kilometers a month within Metro Manila. This assures the company of maximum exposure during the period. A car owner may enroll up to five cars.

As insurance, all the stickers used have a serial number and are tamper resistant. They are made with a special adhesive so that it will not affect the finish of the car when removed. The sticker measures 20x3.5 inches and will be stuck on either the rear bumper or windshield of a car. All stickers will only have the logo or website address of the advertiser, no direct advertisements or inappropriate images allowed.

My Free Gas signed up with 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; it 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 in the form of a Caltex Starcard.

Damasco and Prado said they had no problem signing up at the My Free Gas website.

“It was pretty easy,” they both agreed. “It was like filling up an application, or registering for online airplane ticket purchases, or signing up in a regular mail or social networking site.”

Likewise, getting the gas card at the end of the month was hassle-free, too.

Damasco drives a Honda CRV, and he was quite wary about the sticker being used in the program.

“For people like me who do not usually put stickers on my car, making us do it is really a breakthrough for My Free Gas because people who know us will think it must be something really compelling for us to agree.” he said.

Once an advertiser enrolls with My Free Gas, they are able to monitor the cars they have chosen for their ad campaign via a web-based monitoring account. In this monitoring system, advertisers will be able to view pictures of the stickers installed and the mileage log for each car at the beginning and end of each month for the duration of their campaign. This will help advertisers validate how much mileage, in the form of kilometers run by each car, they are really getting every month. The picture taking and uploading of pictures occur at all Rapidé Stations nationwide. These pictures are also uploaded on real time and can be viewed 24/7 via My Free Gas’ web-based monitoring system.

Atilano says My Free Gas promises advertisers of at least 300 kilometers mileage per car per month, as well as a monitoring system to ensure that the participating car owners do not tamper with the stickers.

“If a specific car fails to comply with any of these two requirements, we will refund the advertiser P1,000 that was supposed to be given to the car owner, and they can choose another car owner for next month’s campaign,” he explains. “In short, My Free Gas will make sure that you get what is promised or we will give you your money back.”

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