Wrapped Around Your Little Finger

11 Dec 2012

Wrap advertising, also known as livery, is the process of covering a moving vehicle such as a car, bus or train in eye-catching paint or vinyl transfers to advertise a product or service. It’s not uncommon to see adverts on the side of buses or even trains, but the use of private cars is increasingly common.

While it makes sense to advertise your own small business on your vehicle, or for a company car to display its origins, firms are now paying ordinary motorists for vehicle wrapping. Consumer surveys claim that wrap advertising has excellent recall and response rates, making it more effective than other more traditional forms of outdoor advertising. In fact, so effective is the practice that certain urban areas, in particular central Manhattan, have banned wrapped vehicles from their precincts due to worsening traffic flow. Furthermore, while there is some initial outlay, costs are competitive with other forms of advertising per consumer impression generated.

Advertising billboards have been around for over a century and posters longer still, with countless creative applications. By the 1990s, vinyl adhesive technology had advanced enough to be able to wrap an entire bus in a very noticeable Crystal Pepsi advert, which became a famous sight in California. Bus and other transport companies soon caught on, with the method’s popularity in part due to the fact that consumers apparently considered these decorated vehicles as a pleasant distraction rather than intrusive or annoying. By the next decade, as the mobile advertisement market sector grew, companies began to hit upon the idea of using private cars to display their wares. Certain websites offer free vehicles or regular payments to those who allow their cars to be wrapped with advertising material. Some even take the programme further, by involving the driver in promotional events or direct customer contact for additional fees.

Some of the key advantages of outdoor advertising are size, location and continuing presence. Vehicle wrapping expands upon this by generating a word-of-mouth effect similar to viral marketing. Furthermore, wrap advertising can directly target a specific consumer market by choice of vehicle, location and the kind of journeys made by the driver. For example, a regular gym visitor is a good target for sports-equipment advertising and a mother who makes regular journeys between school, nursery and children’s shops or events is ideal for targeting other parents for childcare items.

Vehicle wrapping therefore offers a high-impact, high-visibility marketing method with unusual head-turning capability. The marketing message reaches the consumer at a time when they may not be expecting it and as a result are more open-minded, while remaining relatively low-cost for the amount of impressions it is able to generate.