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The Business of Mobility: DooH it does it for drivers and deliverymen

Published on May 22, 2023

The Business of Mobility is a series of articles featuring business leaders in sustainable mobility.  

Q&A with Mikael Bes (co-founder and CEO at DooH it) and Ross Douglas (Founder at Autonomy)  

DooH it is a Belgian advertising agency who boast some innovative ideas when it comes to mobility media. DooH it (Digital out of Home) is dedicated to innovative urban digital advertising. Their DigiCab offers advertising to ride-hailing passengers, while DigiBag places messaging on food delivery bags.

Ross: What is DigiCab? 

Mikael: It is a passenger-facing screen that shows sponsored video content. 

Ross: Why is that an innovative marketing solution?

Mikael: In itself it’s not that innovative, but the technology and the business model around DigiCab are different and interesting. We came up with the idea to help drivers with extra income. 

Ross: You mean the advertising revenue goes to the drivers and not to the ride-hailing app. 

Mikael: Yes, we actually work directly with the drivers, who can make up to 200 Euro a month extra with the DigiCab. 

Ross: But it can be distracting for a passenger to be subjected to advertising messages, when maybe they would rather take a rest, or check something on their phone.

Mikael: We’re using facial recognition technology to target the passenger with sponsored messaging that interests them. It scans your facial traits, determining age, gender, whether you wear glasses and other factors. It runs an algorithm based on data from six areas of facial expressions that reveal your interest level in the message. We’ve refined our segmentation of the market, with 50 categories, each with its own content. 

Ross: What about the strict privacy laws? 

Mikael: It’s all anonymised and 100% GDPR compliant, so there’s no problem there. Also, these marketing messages are not only relevant to the individual, they’re fun and entertaining. For example we work a lot with airlines, offering holiday packages. Many passengers are tourists or visitors to the city, and we’ll include messages about cultural activities and places of interest. 

Ross: What about DigiBag; this is quite a novel idea to put advertising on a food-delivery container.  

Mikael: Bicycle deliveries are a feature in many of our cities, with youngsters navigating the streets to bring us a meal at our convenience. The idea of the DigiBag came about when we saw a video made by one of these deliverymen, using GoPro footage. It’s a tough job, with modest rewards. We wanted to give them something extra, like we are doing with ride-hailing drivers. So we launched DigiBag in December in Paris. If you Google the images, you’ll see that the food box, which the rider carries on their back, has three sides of digital advertising. On average, the DigiBag earns an extra 100 Euro per month for delivery men. There are also some social aspects associated with the campaign, where we offer access to insurance and free French classes to help them integrate into society.  

Ross: I assume you also have technology on the DigiBag to help you optimize reach?

Mikael: Yes. DigiBag has a camera on it; and the visuals are run through sophisticated AI to show us how many pedestrians and drivers see the images. We also geo-map the riders, so we can show messages that are more relevant to the area they happen to be in. 

Ross: As a pioneer in the field, what do you see as the future of ‘mobility media’, if we can call it that?

Mikael: I think that’s the right term for it. Mobility is an important sub-section of our industry (out of home digital urban advertising) and it offers the potential for targeted advertising using the latest tech tools. Our customer feedback on DigiCab is very positive; most customers appreciate the fact that the content is relevant and individualized. As we become more sophisticated, mobility media will become refined and more interactive. Also, there will be growing acceptance of such advertising, when customers realize it is helping to subsidize their ride, or their delivery. Like the acceptance we have for television advertising, which of course helps pay for the content. 

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