Put Your Marketing in Motion with Mobile Visual Communications

2014 April Whitepaper

Clutter. That’s the marketing term for the cacophony of promotional messages that assail consumer’s senses through a variety of portals each day. And unfortunately for businesses, consumers are more adept than ever at tuning out that clutter. They fast-forward the TV commercials on their DVR. They close online banner ads before giving them a glance. They listen to their iTunes custom music mix instead of listening to music—and the ad spots—on traditional radio stations. And as readership of print publications continues to decline, so too does the effectiveness of print advertisements.

So how does the savvy marketer create a message the cuts through the clutter and makes a positive impact on its brand? One answer is vehicle graphics. Unlike the traditional print, TV, radio or online advertisements already in the marketing mix for most companies, implementing vehicle graphics into a business’ marketing plan is relatively unchartered territory. In fact, in the Content Marketing Institute’s report of marketing tactics used by business-to-consumer firms in 2012 and 2013, vehicle graphics did not even make the top 25.1 This omission is a glaring missed opportunity, as mobile graphics are estimated to generate 30,000-70,000 impressions per day.2

Driving Down Advertising Expenses

Moreover, the Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)—the metric that the advertising world uses to compare the costs of available media—for vehicle graphics is far less than most other advertising opportunities. CPM equals unit cost of a media type multiplied by 1,000, then divide the results by the audience size. So, for example, if you spend $3,000 for a full vehicle wrap, and that vehicle gets about 70,000 impressions per day and is on the road every day for a full year (365 days), the result is: CPM=($3,000x1,000)/(70,000 per day/ 365 days)= $0.11 per 1,000 impressions A mere 11 cents per thousand impressions! This is remarkable, when compared to other types of media: a TV ad ranges from a CPM of $10 for a local broadcast to $35 for a popular prime time sitcom; newspaper CPM’s range from $10-25; and radio comes in with a CPM of about $4.3

In addition to being cost-effective, vehicle graphics are effective in generating brand affinity. A recent study conducted by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) reported the following about vehicle wrap advertising’s effectiveness:

Fleet vehicle advertising surpasses name recognition 15 times more than any other form of advertising.

  • 91 percent of participants could recall significant portions of vehicle wrap advertisements seen regularly on their commutes.
  • 90 percent of participants thought vehicle wraps had a positive impact on a brand’s perception.
  • 96 percent of participants thought vehicle wraps were more effective than billboard ads.4

Given the low cost of vehicle graphics and their effectiveness, it is no wonder that their use is on the rise. A recent article in Media Post reports that “Out of Home” advertising—the kind of marketing that includes vehicle graphics, as well as other mediums like billboards—increased 5% in 2013 and has reported gains for the past 13 consecutive quarters. The vehicles on our highways—and waterways, railways and skies—offer a blank canvas for advertisers and the time has come when savvy marketers are starting to recognize the potential of vehicle graphics to cut through the clutter.5

On the Seas, In the Air and On the Rails

Business owners and consumers alike are familiar with graphics on cars and trucks for the simple reason that most people come into contact with cars and trucks every day. But the wrap and lettering technology possibilities available for other vehicles—boats, planes, trains, buses and fleets—are less well-known. Following is a brief overview of the technologies and benefits of graphics on vehicles that sail, speed and soar.


Whether the end-user is a commercial business or an individual, boat graphics, like other vehicle graphics, promote a positive impression about the boat’s owner. But too often, boats merely bear the required registration information and boat ID numbers without any of the panache that sets the owner’s brand or personal style apart. Graphics prepared for boats face the unique challenge of remaining fresh and appealing despite being buffeted by water. As such, all wrap adhesive and vinyl lettering substrates need to have the resilience to endure fresh and salt water’s barrage.

Fortunately, significant technical advances in the materials used for boat graphics have increased their anticipated lifetime to up to 10 years. There are three types of vinyl:

1. Calendered vinyl is poured into a mold, then stretched, which impairs its strength and therefore its lifespan. It usually only lasts for about one year.

2. Intermediate vinyl is slightly stronger, but not recommended for contoured surfaces. It has a life expectancy of 5-7 years.

3. Cast vinyl is the strongest and therefore the preferred choice for boats. It is two millimeters in thickness and adheres strongly to contoured surfaces. Given the buffeting anticipated for a vehicle that will be on the water, cast vinyl is recommended.6

Further, boat graphics can be used for a variety of important purposes. Below are a few ideas that have increased in popularity over the past 10 years:

• Camouflage for hunting: A custom boat wrap in camouflage can perfectly mimic the reedy water plants of the marshes that attract the waterfowl in the hunter’s sights.

• Refreshing an aging boat: A custom boat wrap is a fraction of the cost of an entirely new vessel, yet delivers the excitement and freshness of a significant makeover. Moreover, wrapping and strategically placed decals and stripes lend a touch of polish to a boat being prepared for sale, enhancing its appearance—and its sale price.

• Floating messaging: For boats used by businesses, professional anglers and sight-seeing tours, it is imperative that the vessel bears a compelling visual message that will not fade and provides an eye-catching vision when cruising the waves.


It bears repeating that nearly every vehicle graphic option that is available for earth-bound vehicles like cars and trucks is also available for aircraft.More specifically, commercial and personal aircraft may benefit from the following:

• Striping: Colored stripe details are the necessary finishing touch for any aircraft. They add definition to the craft’s contours and a touch of defining style, too.

• Nose, tail and wing art: As long as there has been war, mankind has displayed an affinity for decorating their instruments of war. And in World War II, use of the aircraft as one of the primary weapons of war gave rise to a new genre of art: airplane art. Airplanes have been decorated with everything from a malicious shark’s fearsome smile to the classic seductive pin-up to cartoons intended to add some levity to the aircraft’s dangerous role.7Today, decals on the nose, wings, side and tail remain a simple way to personalize an aircraft and make it easily identifiable in the air or on the ground.

Transit: Trains and Buses

Transit advertising is a rapidly growing revenue source for government transit authorities—and a valuable option for marketers. As transit bureau’s assets—trains, busses and their stations—are seen by as many as one million people each month,8 it becomes essential that this space becomes profitable. Further, advertisers can build a comprehensive advertising campaign by also placing their message in the inside of the train car and throughout the station. And by understanding what kind of consumer rides on the different routes, marketers gain the ability to target their message.


A company’s fleet offers the perfect canvas to broadcast a positive brand image to up to 70,000 people each day, per vehicle! The statistics about the effectiveness of vehicle graphics are all the more true for the large, mobile billboard that the side of an 18-wheeler provides. An added benefit is that businesses are able to track the routes of their fleet and develop metrics that measure the impact on sales.

Another unique opportunity offered by fleet graphics is the option to lease this valuable advertising space. A number of fleet advertising businesses have entered the marketplace in response to the rise of vehicle graphics. Their expertise in matching your fleet’s advertising real estate with eager marketers could result in a sizable stream of additional revenue for your business.9

The Time is Now

Vehicle graphics offer a compelling, dynamic advertising solution that is both cost-effective and builds a positive brand image. It behooves savvy business owners to take stock of their moving advertising real estate to build brand affinity and increase profits. When seeking to cut through the marketing clutter, marketers need only look to the highways, railways, seas or skies.

To download a .pdf of this case study please fill out the form to the right and a copy will be emailed to you.

Read More

1. Business2Community. “What’s in your marketing mix?” http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/whats-marketing-mix-0661281
2. ARD Ventures. “Investment Analysis: Measuring the Value of Vehicle Wraps” http://wrapaholic.com/files/Vehicle-Wrap-Value.pdf
3. Entrepreneur. “Which Ad Strategy Works for You?” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/203050#
4. HVACR Business. “Are you maximizing your fleet’s advertising potential?” http://www.hvacrbusiness.com/2130
5. MediaPost. “Out-of-home Continues Revenue Upswing.” http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/207796/out-of-home-continues-revenue-upswing.html#axzz2ehi5WYRO
6. Ezinearticles.com. “What is the best material for boat and vehicle graphics?” http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Is-The-Best-Material-For-Boat-And-Vehicle-Graphics?&id=886925
7. Anderson, Carmen. “What is nose art?” http://flyingirls.awardspace.com/
8. Entrepreneur. “The Advantages of Transit Advertising.” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76826#
9. Wheels. “Vehicle Branding: Is there hidden value in your fleet?” http://www.wheels.com/PUBLIC/why-wheels/thought-leadership/white-papers/vehicle-branding


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WRAP002 - Custom Full Wrap for Auto Dealerships & Services WRAP014 - Custom Full Wrap for Non-Profits & Associations FLEET006 - Custom Fleet Graphic for Retail FLEET004 - Custom Fleet Graphic for Retail PART038 - Custom Partial Wrap for Recreation EVR009 - Custom Emergency Vehicle Reflective Striping & Chevron for Government