Until just a few years ago, marketing through vehicle graphics was pretty much confined to tradesmen’s vans and larger trucks. (OK, there’s NASCAR, but I’m going to confine this post to the vehicles that one sees on the street.) If you wanted to do some marketing on a passenger-style vehicle, you were practically limited to vinyl letters or rectangular magnetic signs to stick on the doors. But technology has made it increasingly practical to apply elaborate graphics to any vehicle. More and more conventional automobiles are getting the treatment, and they really stand out on the roads of the Midcoast.
“It’s an extremely effective marketing and branding tool,” says Joe Ryan, principal at Adventure Advertising in Rockport. “In terms of cost-effectiveness, nothing matches it. Every day you could be getting 30,000 to 40,000 impressions.” Adventure recently did a full wrap on a Nissan crossover vehicle for the Penobscot Bay Pilot, and their portfolio includes ATVs, cars, minivans, passenger vans, motorhomes, box trailers and tractor-trailer rigs.
According to Ryan, a full-car graphic wrap costs about the same as a full-page color ad in the Portland Press-Herald. The print ad might make 60,000 to 70,000 impressions total. The vehicle wrap matches that in a few days, and continues to make impressions every day for a number of years.
“And in the newspaper, you’re competing with other ads,” says Ryan. “On the road, you tend to be one of just a few eye-catching vehicles that catches people’s attention.”
Prices for full wraps can reach “into the three thousand range,” says Ryan, “but we have also done extremely effective vehicle graphics for as little as about $400” which, he says, might consist of a well-designed logo carefully placed on a door. “We do a lot of partial wraps, which can be more affordable for many smaller businesses. We use the lines, shape and color of the existing vehicle as design elements. It’s a nice challenge.”
Ryan argues that the cost of even full wrap is quite reasonable if it’s considered in the proper context. “It’s not a vehicle expense. It’s a marketing and advertising expense,” he says. Very true. If you think of it as a vehicle modification like custom wheels, then a couple thousand extra dollars might not make sense. But that same amount may be easy to justify for a marketing tool that keeps catching eyeballs for years to come.
(All photos courtesy Adventure Advertising.)