June 11, 2009

99-cent cab rides don’t amuse NYC brass

Verizon Wireless canceled a 99-cent New York cab ride promotion after city officials said the guerrilla marketing campaign violated taxi licensing rules.

As soon as we were aware of the promotion, we reached out to Verizon and they were responsive to the extent that they took immediate steps to curb it, Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman Matthew Daus told the New York Post.

The Wednesday deal to promote Verizon's new prepaid, 99-cents-a-day cell phone plan applied to 60 yellow cabs Verizon hired and put its logo on, the newspaper said Thursday. The cabs picked up riders at Pennsylvania Station, Grand Central Terminal, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Citigroup Center and took them anywhere in Manhattan for 99 cents.

The campaign -- scheduled to run all day -- was halted after three hours because it violated a rule that the taximeter must be running whenever a passenger is in the cab, the commission said.

In addition, the owner of the cabs did not get commission permission to participate in the campaign.

Officials with Verizon and marketing companies McCann Erickson and sister media shop Universal McCann had no immediate comment.

On June 23 the phone giant plans to bring New Yorkers 99-cent Mister Softee Ice Cream from four Verizon Wireless-wrapped trucks at high-traffic locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens during the lunch hour. Branded napkins with additional prepaid details will be dispensed with the treats.