Vehicle Graphics 101

2015 September Whitepaper

For businesses looking to rev up their marketing mix, vehicle graphics offer a great opportunity to expand a company’s impact. The following tutorial can be used as a marketer’s road map to understand this effective advertising medium and how to prime a vehicle to become a mobile marketing machine.

What Are Vehicle Graphics?

Vehicle graphics are images, lettering and wraps that can be applied to cars, trucks, boats, planes, trains, buses or any other mode of transportation.

Effective Advertising At a Fraction of the Cost

Mobile graphics get noticed—and at a fraction of the cost of traditional media outlets, such as print, television, radio and online. It is estimated that mobile graphics generate 30,000 to 70,000 impressions per day.1 Moreover, vehicle graphics’ CPM—Cost Per Thousand impressions—is far less than other advertising.

CPM is calculated by taking the unit cost of the media multiplied by 1,000, then dividing the result by the audience size. For example, for a $1,000 vehicle wrap that gets about 70,000 impression per day and is on the road every day for a full year (365 days), the CPM is calculated as follows:

($1,000 x 1,000)

(70,000 impressions per day x 365 days)    =   $0.04 per 1,000 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 $4.2

Types of Vehicle Graphics

There are as many possibilities for vehicle designs as there are varieties of vehicles on the road, rails, seas or in the skies. Below are some of the most common.

Full and Partial Vehicle Wraps

Vehicle wraps are printed on a high-quality, adhesive-backed vinyl sealed and protected with a UV laminate film for long wear and bright colors, and custom fit to each vehicle. Modern advances in adhesive vinyl technology—such as bubble-reducing air channels and microscopic glass beads that allow for removing and repositioning the wrap until it is placed just right—have made it possible to wrap practically anything.

The benefit of a full vehicle wrap is its marketing impact: in addition to being cost-effective, vehicle wraps 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.3

Vehicle Magnets

These are created by adhering printed vinyl graphics to a magnetized flexible substrate. They offer a low-cost way to market a business as they provide unparalleled flexibility. For vehicles that perform double duty for both work and personal use, magnets let the owners decide when they want to represent their company, and when they would rather not. Further, vehicle magnets can be easily moved from one vehicle to another.

There is one caveat to consider when choosing this option: today’s cars are increasingly being constructed of non-ferrous materials such as plastics and composites to which vehicle magnets will not adhere. Before selecting this option, the owner ought to ensure the spot on the vehicle designated to bear the sign is made of a material to which a magnet will stick.

Car-Top Signs

Like vehicle magnets, car-top signs also offer flexibility. They are typically a three-sided hard substrate that adheres via magnets to a vehicle’s top. Users also have the option of illuminating their car-top, which can be powered by either battery, cigarette-lighter or hard-wiring. As with vehicle magnets, it is important to ensure that the magnet base will adhere to the vehicle roof.

Vehicle Window Graphics

Vinyl lettering and graphics can also adhere to windows. The most popular kind offer one-way visibility: the driver can see out of the vehicle, but others cannot see in. One more benefit of window graphics is higher placement directly in other drivers’ line of sight. 

Truck-side Framing Systems

These offer the flexibility of magnet graphics—but on a much grander scale. A business’ message is printed in full color at high resolution on one smooth, seamless sheet. This then fits tightly on the side of flat-sided boxcars and trailers. The sheets can be easily swapped out as a business’ message changes. Further, this option can fit over existing wrapped or painted truck-side graphics.

Vehicle graphics are often applied to entire fleets, either as wraps or truck-side framing. These large applications transform vehicles into rolling billboards that not only broadcast a business’ message, but can also be tracked so that marketers know exactly where their advertisements are rolling when. In this way, messages can be targeted to fit the market where trucks are driving.

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.4

To download a .pdf of the full whitepaper please fill out the form to the right and a copy will be emailed to you.

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