Beck Taxi’s new brand campaign… why is the window open?
FUSE's president airs his thoughts on Beck Taxi's new campaign.
Uber has been around for a while now, but taxi companies have had little response except protest. Finally, Beck has taken to the streets with a new campaign to change perceptions of the brand.
Stephen Brown, President, FUSE Marketing Group I like Beck’s new branding campaign… from a logo and style perspective. It feels much more contemporary and fresh versus the 1950ish taxi brands in the market. But the likability stops there. The campaign construct is about the human side of Beck -- driven by people -- a direct poke at the tech play that Uber has used to disrupt this very sleepy industry. I get it, Beck’s business model is under attack from a disruptor and it is trying to define its value and provide a point of difference. But as a regular Beck user, I believe Beck has missed the point. Instead, I’d address the in-car experience first, before trying to force a perception change. I ride in many Becks weekly. The drivers are generally good (though curiously men more often than women, as compared with Uber) and great at getting around Toronto, fast. I like fast, efficient drivers, even with the odd white knuckle moment. My biggest and consistent complaints are that the cars are often dirty and smelly, and the old-school dispatch radios that loudly yell out the next ride while one tries to enjoy a peaceful ride just doesn’t cut it. The Uber experience is consistently cleaner and quieter. Twenty years ago, cabs in NYC went through a customer-centric overhaul where Mayor Giuliani instituted a passenger manifest, and cleanliness was one of the key factors. Sadly, Beck and other Toronto cab companies have never tried to improve the actual consumer experience. Now that there is viable competition, Beck chooses to take the easy route and rebrand without addressing the core cause of consumer discontent. This is simply whitewashing, or smoke and mirrors. Beck, you could have my support, as I’m not an Uber evangelist. I use Uber occasionally but my patronage is not confirmed. I struggle with many Uber part-time drivers not knowing the best routes. Who takes Queen Street all the way to the east side because GPS says so? And peak pricing makes a ride more expensive. I want Beck to step up and succeed as a viable option, but an ad campaign that doesn’t address the core problems of the business model is as classic as retailer advertising a great new product and not having it in stock when one goes to the store. The only reason I relate to the guy in the billboard is because I often roll the window down – not to enjoy my great city, but to manage the smell of unkempt cars. This campaign comes up short. Suggestion: do a cross-promotion with Febreze and Armor All and actually use the products daily.