Driving Awareness with Vehicle Advertising


You can easily get free advertising exposure with your vehicles, but being clever with it will get you even more attention.

Driving around town can be one of your best forms of advertising. Consider the experience of Jeff Whiting of Help! Wizards, a Columbus, Ohio, computer consulting firm that makes house calls. In 1999, the company bought its first vehicle. Instead of going with a white van as originally planned, it bought something that would attract more attention. A bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle. The “Help! Wizards” logo is boldly blazoned on both sides of the Bug and their trademark “!” is on the hood. They’ve since added three more Bugs to the fleet and have two more scheduled to hit the streets soon. The results? According to Whiting, he gets at least one call a week directly from the exposure to the “Wizard Bug.”

Speaking of bugs, an independent extermination company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, used an old hearse with a big bug on top as its vehicle. It got a lot of attention, but many customers felt uncomfortable with it in their driveways.  Still though, they grew their brand and captured significant recognition and market share.

The right message will generat interest without question.  Most of the clients we’ve worked with over the years report several calls each week, even if they’re operation just one or two well messaged vehicles.  After all, you’re driving a mobile billboard.  Today it may be a blank canvas with no appeal, however next week it could be an effective lead generating machine!

Consider the impact of just one delivery vehicle with effective messaging – well placed decals with the right information.  You don’t have to have a full graphic wrap to get attention.  In fact, the trend is moving a way from full vehicle wraps, and going to partial wraps or aligning decal messaging to compliment the color of the vehicle.  The messaging doesn’t need to be in your face or overbroadcasted.  Many times this type of approach is overlooked or so obnoxious the results are not what expected.  Well thought out messaging, along with good colors to bring the eyes in will be more effective for you than a crazy psychedelic wrap your buddy told you would look cool.  And have fun with it.  This is also your opportunity to show your personality and identity of your brand – be clever if it suits your business.  I have a client who made the most out of his single truck.  He used magnetic signs made with his company logo on it. He also put at the bottom under the logo “Delivery Vehicle #1,” which went on the left side. “Delivery Vehicle #2″ was placed on the right side of the truck. On the back was “Delivery Vehicle #3.” His friends and clients were amazed at how fast his fleet grew!  This is a humorous, but important lesson: When considering signage for your vehicles, don’t forget to include all sides — left, right and back.

For temporary vehicle signs, do consider the use of vehicle magnets. They can be big impact in full color if you want. This is a great way to promote something you do not want to be on your vehicles permanently. You can even run monthly or seasonal promotions. For example, a heating-and-cooling company could produce magnetic signs that promote preseason maintenance of your furnace or air conditioner. The signs are used during the slower time leading up to the busy season when the weather changes.  This approach can be effective along with a permanent graphic, calling out seasonal services and specials.  Again, get creative here – the magnetic signs don’t have to be boring rectangles (which are very effective by the way), no, they too can be custom shapes and sizes to best use the footprint of your vehicle and show some creativity.

If your company is sponsoring a local sports team or league, in addition to the normal exposure you get on the jerseys and signage at the playing field, make it part of the deal that team bumper sticks say: “Sponsored by (your company).” Dozens, or hundreds, of cars would provide you additional exposure at no additional cost. This extends your exposure beyond the group itself and may be the tipping point for justifying your sponsorship in respect to return on investment.

Graphics for vehicles can be dramatic, thanks to new digital printing capabilities. Your vehicles can become moving billboards, and except for the cost of creation and application, your message is distributed for free. Even with cost of design, imaging production and installation, your cost per impression (CPI) is soooo much lower than that of traditional print and billboard style advertising – because your mobile.  How many impressions will you get driving just 10 miles from your office to a client?  Of course, if you’re going to use your vehicles in this way, make sure they are always clean. And when not in use, park them, if possible, in a high-traffic area so they still provide you additional free exposure. And, it must be clear to your drivers that they have to be courteous, no matter what. Even shaking a fist at a lane hog on a cell phone can create ill-will and bad word-of-mouth, and if you’re engaged in effective social media and marketing campaigns, that rude driver could be deadly, especially if it’s you doing the driving!  I’ve been there before and learned my lesson – all exposure is not good exposure- for you!

To learn more about how the use of vehicle graphics can benefit your business and help create more brand recognition leading to greater market share, give us a shout.  We’re happy to discuss best use options for you and your fleet, one or one hundred.

MINDSTORM – Kinetic Media!