How UMI.CY is transforming private cars into moving billboards

Most of us just complain about the traffic but, Semeon Arnold, the Founder and CEO of UMI.CY, instead saw exciting business potential in the stream of cars.

Arnold, who moved to Cyprus from Russia at the age of 14 and is now a Cypriot national, explains how his company can help businesses increase their brand’s visibility on the island’s busiest roads. The innovative concept also creates a way for car owners to earn an additional income, just by using their vehicles as normal.

With additional conditions clearly laid out on the company's website, drivers can potentially anticipate a possible passive income beginning at €20 per week for a light wrap, meaning ads on four doors, on a saloon car manufactured between 1995-2004, and rising up to as much as €150 per week for a full wrap on a bus manufactured between 2015 and this year.

Arnold recently told CBN all about how the idea first came to him and how he has developed it into a unique opportunity for local businesses and car owners.

Could you tell us more about the innovative concept underpinning UMI.CY and the suite of services it offers?

Certainly! UMI.CY, which stands for Unique Marketing Ideas, is a unique and innovative Marketing Agency based in Limassol. Our concept revolves around leveraging private vehicles as moving billboards to showcase advertisements. Imagine seeing vibrant and eye-catching ads on everyday cars as they commute around the island. We're tapping into the inherent potential of Cyprus' extensive car network to create a win-win situation for both Brands and car owners. Our services allow Brands to gain exceptional visibility, while car owners can offset their vehicle maintenance expenses by simply adorning their cars with vinyl advertising stickers.

Can you elaborate on what motivated your decision to establish UMI.CY in Cyprus? How was the establishment process and what response has your product garnered thus far?

The spark behind UMI.CY was ignited while I was waiting at a traffic light, I was observing a stream of cars passing by, each with an untapped potential to serve as a moving billboard. Inspired by this observation, I conceptualised the idea of utilising private cars for advertising purposes. Further research revealed that no such service existed in Cyprus, marking the birth of my unique and unparalleled business venture.

Initiating UMI.CY posed a certain degree of challenge as well. The primary concern centered around the potential hesitance of Cypriots to engage in vehicle advertising, given their strong emotional attachment to their cars. Additionally, there was the apprehension that individuals might feel self-conscious if acquaintances or others spotted advertisements on their vehicles. Some of my friends expressed these concerns. Nevertheless, these apprehensions did not deter me. My standpoint was that every aspect has a negotiable value; the only question was determining its extent. Hence, I conducted a survey among 100 private car owners within the Molos parking area in Limassol.

The survey revolved around two pivotal questions: ‘Would you be open to allowing your car to generate supplementary income through the placement of an advertising sticker?’,and ‘What monetary incentive would be persuasive enough for you to place an advertisement on your car?’

The responses I garnered from the survey unveiled a notable trend: the majority of participants displayed enthusiasm about utilising their vehicles to augment their earnings. With this encouraging outcome, I received the green light to proceed with the development of the UMI.CY platform.

Could you tell us more about the effectiveness of marketing on private vehicles and provide insights into the cost associated with it?

According to multiple studies on the impact of car wrap advertising, it is considered the most effective and efficient form of outdoor advertising, reaching more consumers at a lower Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) than any other form of outdoor advertising. Imagine this, a single vehicle's advertisement generates between 30,000 - 80,000 daily impressions. 98% of people said fleet graphics created a positive image for the Brand. 96% of people said fleet graphics had more impact than billboards. 75% of people developed an impression about a company and its products based on a car wrap. Mobile advertising reaches consumers not exposed to newspapers, radio, and television. A fleet of vehicles moving through traffic can broadcast your message all over town in a single day. That’s a huge impact, for very few of your advertising euros.
In fact, vehicle advertising reaches more people than billboards, radio, direct mail, local group mailers, and mass transit advertising.

The exact cost is variable and contingent on the scope and duration of a campaign. It's worth noting that UMI.CY's approach offers exceptional value compared to traditional advertising methods, showcasing the advantageous balance between impact and investment.

Could you highlight the significant advantages of advertising on private cars in the context of Cyprus?

Advertising on private cars in Cyprus presents a series of compelling advantages. First and foremost, it capitalises on the substantial car ownership in the close society of Cyprus, thereby maximising Brand visibility. Secondly, the symbiotic nature of our approach ensures a win-win scenario for car owners, enabling them to offset vehicle maintenance expenses while actively contributing to Brand promotion. Lastly, the mobility of these advertisements ensures exposure across diverse locations and demographics, crafting a lasting impression that resonates with audiences across the island's unique population.

What do you believe sets UMI.CY apart from other marketing agencies?

UMI.CY's distinction stems from its innovative approach to advertising. By transforming private cars into canvases for Brands, we provide a dynamic and captivating means of connecting with target audiences. Our model boasts a two-fold benefit - it serves the interests of both advertisers and car owners, establishing a symbiotic relationship that sets us apart. By placing an ad on the car, advertisers can link the pleasures of vacationing and saving money to the Brand as well as associate the Brand with personal problem-solving.

So, UMI.CY isn't just about advertising; it's about crafting a lasting Brand identity. Through reward and loyalty programs, flash mobs, quests, and special events, drivers are motivated to share the Brand on social media platforms. This not only creates a “Word-of-Mouth” effect and spreads Brand awareness but also creates a sense of community and loyalty around the products and offers.

Is there anything further you would like to share regarding UMI.CY or your experiences within the local business ecosystem?

Our journey within the local business landscape has been characterised by remarkable interest from both Brands and car owners. However, there exists a distinct contrast between car owners and Brands in Cyprus. While car owners have shown enthusiasm, Brands often approach novelty with caution. They tend to observe the endeavors of others before venturing into uncharted territories themselves and stand out. Some Brands are eager to adopt this advertising channel and incorporate it into their marketing strategies in upcoming marketing campaigns, while others are still deliberating, or might face budget constraints.

We deeply understand that our own achievements are intrinsically tied to the success of these Brands. Without their participation, our existence would not hold meaning. This is not mere rhetoric; we genuinely mean it. By emphasising this, we affirm our unwavering commitment to prioritise the triumph of these Brands. We also assure that our dedication to consistency and reliability in our collaborative efforts remains unshaken.

Lastly, looking forward, could you provide insights into the forthcoming developments you envision for UMI.CY in the upcoming year and over the next five years?

Today in our database we have over 500 private vehicles registered and ready to be used as moving billboards advertising local Brands all over Cyprus. In the coming year, our primary focus is on expanding our network of advertisers and private car owners, fostering mutually beneficial collaborations. We are also delving into ways to integrate technology, enhancing the efficiency of connecting Brands with car owners through a mobile application - UMI.CY version 2.0.

Gazing into the future, we have set our sights on establishing UMI.CY as a trailblazer in the advertising sector, distinguished by innovation and sustainability. Our vision includes leveraging technology to create even more impactful and engaging advertising experiences.

Visit the company's website or its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or Telegram pages to learn more.

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