Life could have been very different for this Shimla boy if he had grabbed the opportunity to receive his master degree from the prestigious London School of Economics. He had his visa in his hand and the tickets were booked but a
frustrating traffic jam made all the difference. This is a story of a man who revolutionized advertising in India by beginning from merely Rs 20,000 and now rakes in an annual revenue of Rs 32 crore with a unique company CASHurDRlVE – India‘s first on-vehicle advertisement website.!
This is the story of a boy who failed in two subjects in 6th Standard and was almost on the verge of repeating the class. His fear of failure leads to becoming the first student from his school to crack IIT. He joined the civil engineering branch and slogged his way to shift to electronic communication. By the end of his degree, he had a job offer from an IT company and the London School of Economics was willing to admit him for a masters degree.
Raghu Khanna was in a comfortable position and his parents thought he would live a comfortable life henceforth but just when he was on the way to the airport he got stuck in a traffic jam. He listened to as much radio he could and played games on his mobile phone till they were timed out. There was nothing more left but to look outside the window and read one-liner written on the back of vehicles.
That’s when it struck him that vehicles on road can be an unexplored medium for advertisement. He designed a model where people would be paid to put up advertisements on their vehicles helping companies increase their brand value and visibility. But Raghu did not have any money to start the business nor the experience that it requires. He had to start from scratch and in 2009 he borrowed a sum of Rs 20,000 from his father who was a professor at Himachal University.
Raghu started pitching an idea to people but everyone laughed at his proposal and dismissed the potential saying advertisements can only be in print, radio or television form. He had built a website which caught the attention of 1,500 car owners and 8 advertisers within the first week of its launch. This response made him confident that his idea definitely had potential and he convinced a bakery owner to experiment sticking stickers on his delivery vehicle for advertisement.
Those were the days of immense struggle and Raghu recalls that he had stopped turning on AC to save money. His company was the first one to come up with the concept of an ad on wheels in India. He tied up with a Bengaluru-based company Digital Prints Network that was experts in creating vinyl prints which would come off without harming the paint of the vehicles.
Depending on various factors such as the length of the campaign, size of advertisements, which city they are located in, etc., they can make anything from around Rs 10,000 to upwards of Rs 60,000 a month.
The boy who was once pleading his teachers to give him grace marks is now a game changer in Indian marketing and advertising industry. The concept which began with autos and cars has now spread to the truck, trains, cars, buses, and even airplanes! His client list includes Google, Pepsi, Motorola, Flipkart, Subway, Pizza Hut and dozens of heavyweights. His brainchild is advertising with 6,500 airport cabs, 200,000 autos, and 4,500 private vehicles, and clocking an annual revenue of Rs 32 crore.