Why Every Business Advertising Budget Should Include a Vehicle Wrap

As I drove to work this morning, I had a sudden urge to think about pest control. Just seconds later I noticed a small white car in front of me with a well-done vehicle wrap boasting a pest control company logo and marketing message. Out of the dark came this message and it landed right in my head. Do I have a pest control problem at home? I had better check. Just in case.

Crystal Pepsi?

It all began with a Crystal Pepsi in 1993. Do you remember the Crystal? It was clear Pepsi. You sure would remember it if it drove up next to you, stopped and stared you in the face.

SuperGraphics, Inc., using 3M products, delivered the marketing equivalent of a rolling billboard in 1993 with its Crystal Pepsi bus. It was inescapable. The entire bus was wrapped in a vinyl coat with a clear message for a clear Pepsi.

Vinyl Wrap Hits the Streets

According to this white paper, the Crystal Pepsi bus set a clear example for others to follow. Tractor trailers started placing giant color images on their hauls. People started offering their personally owned vehicles up for sale—rolling ad space. Eventually, some ad agencies made a rolling billboard fit with a paid driver, sampling items and other promotional items to hit the streets at prime time driving hours.

It may have started with large buses and tractor trailers, but it soon evolved. Today there are websites dedicated to hiring drivers for as much as $1,000 per month—with their own car wrapped up in a nice package. Surprise! Outdoor Advertising Association of America estimates that 205,426 buses, 2,732 trucks and 46,194 vehicles are currently hitting the streets across the US. But are car wraps legit? “Follow the money”, as Deep Throat said in All the President’s Men.

Are Car Wraps Legit? Follow the Money

The cost of many forms of advertising is measured in cost per thousand (CPM) exposures. How much does it cost to get a message or image in front of 1,000 sets of eyes?

  • Television:          $23.70
  • Magazine:           $21.46
  • Newspaper:        $19.70
  • All outdoor:        $3.56
  • Fleet Graphics:  $0.48

The cost for fleet graphics is a clear winner. It’s a lot cheaper to get your message out with a vehicle wrap. But how effective is a vehicle wrap? There’s no average return on investment (ROI) when it comes to fleet graphics. The specifics of your ROI depends on the type of business, where and when the vehicle is on the road, and how well the fleet graphic is designed and applied.

Are Vehicle Wraps Effective?

Many studies, highlighted here by 3M, found that 97% of survey respondents remembered the ad on a truck; 98% thought the ads created a positive image for the business; and 96% thought the vehicle wraps had more impact than billboards. Also:

  • 91% notice words and images on commercial vehicles
  • 29% decide to buy based on the impression of the company’s commercial graphics
  • 97% remember ads placed on commercial vehicles vs. 19% for billboards

And is it any wonder? The average delivery or service vehicle makes about 16 million visual impressions a year. If you want to boost that number, simply use reflective graphics to increase impressions by 40%. Sounds great, right? But what about your specific measurements of ROI?

But What About My Business?

I’m glad you asked. Measuring any advertising ROI can be difficult and the stats above are encouraging. But how do you know your vehicle wraps are an investment and not a cost? There are a few simple ways you can track the customers who contact your business because of a vehicle wrap. Todd Stuart, president of SignZoo.com, recommends three ways.

  1. A separate phone number used only on the wrap (which can be immediately redirected to your main line) gives you the exact number of people who are directly responding from your fleet graphics.
  2. A discount only advertised on your vehicles will help you identify (and encourage) prospective customers influenced by the vehicle wraps.
  3. A separate landing page with that URL on the fleet graphics—keep it short and easy to remember. Then track how many people show up.

A bit of creativity and a simple tracking system will allow you to capture the number of leads and actual sales based on your fleet graphics. But you need a little more info to know your ROI.

Do Vehicle Wraps Last?

The lifespan of a vehicle wrap is five to seven years (see here, here and here). Based on the evidence of many different industry experts, you can expect to get at least five years out of your fleet graphics. And just in case you were concerned about the vehicle under the wrap, fleet graphics do not damage paint. A vehicle wrap is an investment lasting at least five years with no risk of damaging the underlying asset. I need to know the cost to know my ROI, you say. True.

What do Vehicle WrapsCost?

To know the approximate cost of a fleet graphic for your vehicles there are some variables to consider. For example, are you wrapping a 16-wheeler or a Prius? The square footage of vehicle is a major consideration to determine cost. Also, the contours of the vehicle can make the install more labor intensive. A flat, boxy vehicle is relatively easy, but if you are wrapping a 2005 TVR Sagaris (see it here) it will take the installers more time to place the graphic around wild curves and vent openings.

Also, the type of material you use can make a difference in price. 3M premium wraps are the industry favorite because of its quality but there are lower cost alternatives on the market. Getting the best quality will raise the price but make it a better investment. Two additional considerations for pricing are the full wrap versus the partial wrap and your wrap design complexity. To recap, here are the main considerations for pricing vehicle wraps:

  • Square footage
  • Contours of vehicle
  • Type of wrap material
  • Full wrap vs. partial wrap
  • Design complexity

You may not be wrapping a bus with a bad tasting Pepsi, but you can elegantly advertise your business through fleet graphics. The cost for the quantity of exposures is unmatched. The effectiveness is demonstrated through study after study and by the popularity of fleet graphics, even among large corporations like PepsiCo. They last for at least five years and the initial investment is small compared to the return over the lifespan of the wrap. To find out if fleet graphics are right for your business and how much it will cost, contact Apex Customs for a quote.

If this has been helpful in your search for marketing and business growth solutions, please leave a comment below. Heck, even if it wasn’t helpful, leave a comment below and let us know why.

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