Car cards are a form of transit advertising. Transit advertising refers to the out-of-home advertising methods which are used on the outside of public transport and in waiting areas like stations etc. Car cards are of two types:
i. “Overhead” cards which are placed above the windows in vehicles.
ii. “Bulkhead” car cards which are placed near the doors outside the vehicles. These are larger in size compared to overhead cards.
Car cards are an effective form of advertising because the transit passengers have a longer time to view the advertisement. However, the ads must be creative enough to capture the attention of the audience, otherwise it can get boring. Of the different positions that car cards can be placed at, the one behind the bus operator or driver is considered to be the most effective and is charged higher than the others. The advantage of car cards or any other form of transit advertising is that there need not be any money spent on circulation; hence this form of advertising is generally cheaper than advertising in newspapers. Also there is lesser competition compared to newspaper ads. The standard size of car cards inside buses is 11 by 21 inches. Other common sizes are 11 by 14 (smaller size), and 11 by 42 (a double size). Other sizes like 11 by 7 or 11 by 56 or even larger, 11 by 84 are also used these days. However, the size is normally modified to be narrower or wider depending on the space available or to match the needs of the advertising message. Generally, car cards are made in sync with other forms of advertising, so that the former serves as a reminder to the people who are travelling.
For example, “Panorama Hair”-The Hair Loss Specialists, used this method in trains where they placed a mirror on the ceiling of the train and had a car card displaying their name and contact number. This was useful when a bald person noticed himself in the mirror.