Recently, there have been major improvements in the field of auto graphics that allow advertisers many advantages that were previously unheard of. Just a few years ago, the extent of vehicle-borne advertising was vinyl or plastic stickers that were applied to the flat areas of a vehicle. While this method does have a few advantages, it has been largely overtaken by a new auto graphics technology called digital vehicle wraps.
Digital vehicle wrapping has fast become a standard in advertising. It is used on everything from privately owned vehicles (such as high-profile company cars) to public transit systems.
Vehicle wrapping also gives advertisers and firms a unique opportunity to create custom graphics in a size and shape that is different every time. Unlike standard billboards, they can specifically select vehicles that match the personality of the ad campaign, enhancing the effectiveness of the ad. Since automotive graphics are mobile, they can also reach a much wider audience with the same number of ads.
Sticker-Based Automotive Graphics
Traditional sticker-based automotive graphics advertising also has advantages, though. In some cases, vehicle wrapping may be cost-prohibitive, or may take too long to install. Also, for companies looking to outfit a small fleet of vehicles, using stickers allows them to create a standard graphic that can be mass produced quickly and easily. Non-professionals can also apply sticker-based graphics to the vehicles, which may save time and money.
Over the last few years, auto wraps have emerged to become one of the predominant forms of outdoor advertising in the United States. Since the emergence of the technology a few years ago, it has grown to become integral in the ad campaigns of both small business and national corporations. They also open the door to other forms of direct advertising, such as coupon promotions.
The Advantages of Auto Wraps
They have many advantages over traditional outdoor advertising, such as billboards, as well as having advantages over traditional auto graphics technology such as vinyl stickers and small graphics. Auto wraps allow advertisers to reach thousands of people a day, with large, easy to read custom graphics and catchy images. According to a study by the Transportation Advertising Council, auto wraps can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions a day.
Auto wraps also put the images directly in front of the consumers. According to an Arbitron, Inc. study, 90-some percent of Americans are either drivers or passengers every day. The vehicles can be targeted to specific locations with peak traffic of the target demographic–for example, the wrapped vehicles can be driven to retail locations that serve the target demographic and can be integrated into larger promotions, such as sampling or other promotions.
The need for traditional vehicle graphics hasn’t been fully eliminated; they still fulfill certain market needs. For example, some small business may consider auto wraps slightly cost-prohibitive. Also, small vinyl sticker graphics are easier to mass-produce and mass-install, making them a popular choice among businesses who are looking to outfit a highly varied fleet of vehicles.
Over the last few years, using car graphics has quickly become one of the major forms of outdoor advertising. Recent advances in the design and application of graphics on vehicles, called vehicle wrapping, has reinforced the boom, causing a stir in the advertising and printing industries. Though initially considered suitable for large-scale advertising campaigns only, many smaller businesses are fast becoming convinced of the power of car graphics and vehicle wrapping.
The two traditional forms of vehicle-borne advertising are the familiar bus billboards and small vinyl stickers. Though both forms of advertising are still used heavily, vehicle wraps offer a few advantages that make many advertisers consider them more valuable than other forms of advertising. Vehicle wraps are also generally considered much more effective than static billboards or other forms of stationary signage as well.
The Pros of Wrapped Car Graphics
One of the main advantages of wrapped car graphics is that wrapping a car can use the form of the car as a visual element, enhancing the eye-catching appeal of the advertisement. For example, one of the most popular types of cars to wrap is the new VW Beetle, which offers a striking and hip silhouette that can catch the eye of many drivers and passengers. Jet Blue Airways and Dryers Ice Cream have both used Beetles as part of promotional campaigns.
Also, wraps are much more visible than traditional vinyl stickers, which may be small. Stickers also have limited placement options–usually, they must be affixed to a relatively flat portion of the car, such as the hood, the roof, or a door. Wraps, however, can take up large portions of the car, including the windows, while not endangering the driver or others by reducing visibility.
In the last few years, many advertisers have begun to incorporate advances in printing and graphic technology to produce better advertising car stickers than ever before. The new type of stickers, often called digital wraps (or just wraps) are larger, more legible, more eye-catching, and offer designers and advertising agents more freedom in designing and presenting the ad. They often incorporate much of the actual vehicle in the ad, using the vehicles size and shape as factors that determine the format of the advertisement.
As late as the mid-90s, the best kind of car stickers that were available were relatively small, and riddled with limitations. For example, in many cases the stickers could only be applied to flat areas of the car or to the windows. They would often show the color of the car through the stickers, and the stickers may have had a short life span in certain areas of the country.
Vehicle wraps are basically car stickers for the entire vehicle. They are printed on large sheets of a thin, slightly elastic vinyl and applied with a heat-reactive adhesive. Starting from the rear of the vehicle, it is possible for installation companies to cover the whole vehicle in a cohesive advertisement, whether it is graphic in nature, textual, or some combination of the two.
Vinyl Car Stickers
Smaller vinyl car stickers are not wholly obsolete, however. For small businesses or business that are looking to label an entire fleet of cars, wrapping may not yet be a cost-effective technique. Also, wraps often require professional removal as well, meaning that they may not be suitable for many temporary applications.
Car Advertising Wraps
Car advertising wraps are quickly becoming one of the most in-demand forms of outdoor advertising in the U.S. Until recently, the most sophisticated forms of vehicle-based advertising were either vinyl stickers or billboard-style graphics on the sides of box trucks. A few years ago, however, some shops began introducing printed vinyl wrapping, turning entire vehicles–any vehicles–into lucrative forms of advertising.
Car advertising wraps are printed on thin, slightly elastic vinyl and then stretched over the car. Unlike vinyl stickers, they require professional installation and, often, professional removal. Because car advertising wraps must be designed to fit the car, they also require custom graphic design from the ground up.
The Effectiveness of Car Advertising Wraps
Because they are custom designed and installed, they are sometimes considered expensive, but many advertising studies have shown that they are worth the cost. An Arbitron, Inc. study showed that over 95% of Americans travel in a car each week, which, in advertising terms, translates into a large and exceptional target. Moreover, consumers that repeatedly view a brand message also have higher brand recall and awareness, making car wrapping a potentially highly profitable method of reaching those consumers.
While vehicle wrapping may seem cost-prohibitive to some businesses at first, many people agree that, when viewed holistically, it is a very successful form of advertising. Most car advertising wraps last up to 3 years, making the investment much more palatable. Some graphics shops also work with vehicle providers to allow small businesses to factor the wrap cost into the vehicles lease.
Custom Car Graphics
The newest thing in custom car graphics, vehicle wrapping is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of outdoor advertising. Vehicle wrapping takes custom-designed graphic work and applies it to entire vehicles, creating a cohesive visual motif applied to the entire visible surface of a vehicle. An a form of advertising, wrapping supplies advertisers with access to the vast and ubiquitous commuter demographic in an exciting, modern way.
Some of the first experiments with custom car graphics advertising campaigns involving vehicle wrapping were Jet Blue Airways and Dryer’s Ice Cream campaigns involving Volkswagen Beetles. Both companies used the wrapped cars as part of larger promotions, involving cruising the city and distributing coupons or other promotional items, respectively. Since them, many businesses, from small private businesses to large corporate firms, have wrapped vehicles, including projects as large as the Las Vegas Monorail.
Wrapping is similar to other traditional forms of custom car graphics in that it involves printing on thin vinyl and then applying the vinyl to the car. However, as wrapping involves different inks, printers, and often, types of vinyl, that is where the similarities end. For example, vinyl stickers often use a type of vinyl that was melted into sheets from a solid, but vehicle-wrapping works betters with vinyl that was formed from a liquid.
Custom Car Graphics Stickers
Vinyl sticker technology is by no means obsolete, though. Stickers can still fulfill the needs of many smaller or private applications. For example, small businesses that want to brand a fleet of vehicles may find stickers a more cost-effective option.