Mumbai. What would you do if you saw a cud-chewing cow standing in the middle of the road, serenely detached and oblivious of the traffic jam it has caused? Or when you saw a pack of dogs howling and fighting amongst themselves? Curse, honk and abuse the municipality, right? But not Raghuveer Sheth, for he belongs to whole new breed of people who are propelling India into the league of economic powerhouses – a breed known as Entrepreneurs.
Where an ordinary person would see coincidence, entrepreneurs see providence. And in this case, disregarding the excusable wisecrack, where other people saw nuisance, Raghuveer saw finance. Giving Google Labs or the Facebook Innovation Center a run for their money Raghuveer has spotted and leveraged a medium, which was always ‘there’ and even grazing or running around in packs – stray animals, to deliver a whole new dimension to outdoor advertising.
Founder and CEO of AdCow Media, Raghuveer says, “I was once watching a cricket match between India and Pakistan. India was chasing a target of 234 and a delightful battle of grit and patience was unfolding before us between the Pakistani seam attack and the Indian openers. At that point suddenly a stray dog got into the field and started running all around. As it stepped on the sponsored message on the grass near the bowler’s end, I had my epiphany – when the gaze of the whole nation, leave alone the stadium crowd, was fixated on this creature what if it had been carrying an advertising slogan on its body? This is how it all began,” he adds with a self-congratulatory but modest smile that could give Lalit Modi a run for his money and ideas.
Raghuveer, who passionately defends his venture, talks about its many merits, “By being the first movers in this business not only are we creating an effective entry barrier in terms of establishing a great brand-recall value but also by using permanent markers we are ensuring that me-too competitors cannot use animals that we have already branded.”
In such a scenario early penetration holds the key and AdCow has already commandeered an enviable 70% of all bovines and 40% of canines in the metros. Asked about the effectiveness and profitability of various species he says, “Since bovines are stationary or slow moving they make excellent mediums for pushing products such as insurance policies or tele-shopping products when placed strategically at traffic jams, while the fleeting canines are used primarily for brand-building similar to popping ads on the internet.”
“In either case they are fetching a premium since they are at eye-sight level of consumers as compared to hoardings or over-head banners,” he adds.
Asked how he plans to market his venture and measure the effectiveness of the campaigns, Raghuveer said that AdCow was the process of developing a low cost gadget that would be integrated and linked to Twitter and Facebook platforms and placed on the animals.
“People can press ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet’ buttons on the animals, which would not only push the animal away and make space for their vehicles or themselves to move, but would also serve as a measurement tool for the advertisers,” he informed.
“But our maxim gain definitely is the serum that causes our advertising message to appear on the skin of the animal. The effect of this serum will last as per the dose which we can administer according to how long the advertiser would want his campaign to run. And the icing on the cake is that such campaigns can be spread virally, as on the internet – since any animal under the influence of this serum transfers the campaign to another animal when it touches it,” Raghuveer disclosed the secret weapon of AdCow.
Asked where he sees AdCow in five years, Raghuveer said that he had some aggressive expansion plans and innovative features that he was working on. “We are already in the process of teaching animals to howl or moo brand jingles which reinforces the campaign effectiveness manifold,” he disclosed, “Also the real opportunity lies in the semi-urban and rural areas where the supply of animals is unlimited and needs aggressive and early penetration to establish AdCow as market leaders.”
We wish AdCow all the success in their endeavor.