Ride-a-Long Media: The next evolution in engaging marketing

How many ads do we get blasted with every day?


We might go to bed at night remembering one or two of them. So, if you’re a brand manager, being memorable – much less persuasive, is a daunting task.


But that’s where our next Digital Dallas Start Up Comedy Roast guest comes in. Ride-a-Long Media is the brain child of Joe Van Olfen. Joe came up with his mobile ad idea while tooling around the roads of Dallas as a Lyft driver.

"Yah, I’ve pretty much done it all," Joe confessed during our call. "From building a property management preservation company to teeth whitening, I have plenty of start up stories to share. That's why Ride-A-Long Media is so exciting for me. It represents an incredible opportunity for a market that’s largely untapped right now."


And what was Joe’s inspiration for Ride-A-Long Media? A yellow taxi cab of all things. “I was working part time as a Lyft driver when a taxi flew by and the sun reflected off the digital display he has in the back. It struck me that nobody was advertising inside Uber and Lyft. Within 12 hours of realizing the potential of advertising with the private rideshare market, I bought my domain and had my business model laid out.”

How does Ride-A-Long Media work? Think of a digital billboard on the back of your Uber driver’s headrest. Joe mounts an Android tablet in each of his driver’s cars and runs a series of static, animated or video ads. Drivers get paid for every hour they run Joe’s device. If they do not have a tablet, Joe will provide one to them on a rent to own program.

But since Joe’s new to the rideshare scene, how has he grown his army of drivers? “It’s super easy to spot rideshare drivers. They’re the ones blocking traffic with their hazard lights flashing. In the beginning, I’d just stand on the street and wait for them to show up. Once spotted, I’d hurry over to their car. First thing out of their mouth was always, ‘hey, you’re not my guy.’ I’d respond, ‘actually, I am your guy.’ Then handed them my information and told them to call me if they wanted to make more money.”

BAM! Instant driver buy-in.

As for placed ads, Joe’s client base is growing. “Right now, our sweet spot is the local business owner. Some want awareness, others have a featured promotion and - truth be told – some just want in on the ground level of the latest marketing tool. But we go further than just displaying the ads. I train our drivers to engage in conversation with riders about the ads they’re seeing. So we go beyond just display ads, we are literally “driving” brand conversation for our ad buyers.”


Right now, Joe has a growing network of rideshare drivers across Dallas, North Dallas and Grapevine using his ad program. But he’s hoping to see that number grow. “In order to grab the attention of the larger, national brands, I need more drivers. I’ve had people from across the country reach out to me to participate in the program. That’s a great sign. It means what we’re doing is working. We’re on the cusp of the next big media opp for smart marketers looking for a captive audience…and drivers looking to grow their profit margins.”

2 Opportunities

So, if you’re the guy or girl n the parked car with your hazards flashing and blocking traffic, we’re talking to you. Ride-A-Long Media’s got a great opp for you to earn some extra cash on the side. And if you’re a Digital Dallas member and want a good laugh, be sure to grab your tickets to this year’s Start Up Comedy Roast.

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