Memphis-themed taxi cabs roll to London Olympics

A Memphis-themed taxi on the streets of London.
A Memphis-themed taxi on the streets of London.

(WMC-TV) – The world will turn its attention to London on July 27 for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The main focus will be on the world-class athletes who have sacrificed everything to reach this Olympiad.

But the Memphians who make a Herculean effort to promote our city to the world will take full advantage of the countless visitors to the United Kingdom this summer.

A dozen of London's iconic taxi cabs have been wrapped in Memphis themes.

"We bought the cab advertising early because we knew they would sell out fast," said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A dozen Memphis-themed cabs will ride around London, the world's top destination for international travelers, for an entire year.

Kane says ads featuring Elvis, Memphis and Tennessee have been a staple of the bureau's outreach to attract UK tourists for 15 years.

"Verifone Media, the company that creates the taxi advertising, loves Memphis so much they put our Elvis cab on the cover of their brochure," Kane said.

Officials with the Memphis CVB said the group spent $35,000 to buy the advertising on a dozen cabs for the entire Olympic year.

Some of the cabs have interior advertising on the back seats as well, featuring contests to win a trip to Memphis.

On the exterior of the taxis, Londoners and their many visitors will see the name "Memphis" in bold letters, as well as logos for tourist attractions such as the Rock-n-Soul Museum, the Stax Museum and Graceland.

"We have three dedicated representatives in the UK who promote Memphis and they come here two to three times a year," Kane said. "These people set up BBC interviews and features about Memphis and our region, assist British film crews, help documentary makers who are Memphis bound as well as accompany tour operators to the Bluff City."

The promoters of taxi cab advertising in London said that each cab carries an average of 2,000 passengers a month and that a grand total of 11 million people see taxi advertising every week on all the cabs rolling around London.

If you're lucky enough to be in London for the Summer Games, you can catch a lift to the 2012 Olympics in a ride designed to bring more tourism gold to Memphis.

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