Graphics Gone Wild

Vehicle graphics designers are always looking for new and exciting ways to help companies extend consumer awareness of their brands and services through the use of vehicles as advertising tools. Unlike ad campaigns designed for other types of media, however, vehicle graphics must deliver their message to passing motorists within seconds. Key words and explosive visual images provide the most lasting

Vehicle graphics designers are always looking for new and exciting ways to help companies extend consumer awareness of their brands and services through the use of vehicles as advertising tools. Unlike ad campaigns designed for other types of media, however, vehicle graphics must deliver their message to passing motorists within seconds. Key words and explosive visual images provide the most lasting impressions, which is what it's all about.

Fleet Owner's staff of judges for this year's Vehicle Graphics Awards contest have selected a number of outstanding examples of how companies can transform the dull, unadorned sides of their trucks and trailers into effective marketing strategies that promote and sell their products or services. Based on what we see, this year's finalists are no doubt succeeding in their missions. Take a look for yourself at the imaginative graphics on the following pages. Not only are they clever and fun, but some are downright wild as well!

EDITOR'S CHOICE

OFFICEMAX

Naperville, IL

DESIGNER: In-house and Craftsmen Industies

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Craftsmen Industries, St. Charles, MO

MARKING MATERIALS: 3M 180 CV2

Put a corporate image campaign on the side of a truck and it will be noticed. But perhaps never before have we noticed such an effort becoming more noticeable — no, make that impossible not to miss — once it was translated into a vehicle graphic treatment.

Such is so undoubtedly the case with OfficeMax that it can be said it drove in and picked up our Editor's Choice honor without hardly slowing down.

The company's new rubber-band ball mascot of sorts is emblazoned on its catalogs and elsewhere, but it truly comes to life — three-dimensionally no less — bouncing around “inside” on the outside of 334 of the office supply firm's newest delivery trucks.

OfficeMax's marketing team and St. Charles, MO-based graphics supplier Craftsmen Industries collaborated on the 3D take on rubber-ball theme. Adopted in April 2007, the graphics provide a consistent message that OfficeMax takes pride in its vehicles, and therefore, its brand promises, to customers.

“The new fleet graphic has been widely accepted by the public and customer base and was a winner from a marketing/sales position,” observes fleet operations manager Tracy Fitzpatrick.

“Sharp vehicle graphics combined with an industry-leading safe operational fleet are a huge win for the OfficeMax community and the customers we serve. Well-maintained vehicles, [safety] compliant drivers and sharp vehicle graphics provide a consistent message to the business community that OfficeMax takes pride in its fleet of vehicles to deliver on our brand promises,” adds Fitzpatrick.

Clearly, “follow the bouncing ball” has taken on a new meaning — right to OfficeMax.

ADVANCED POWER TECHNOLOGIES

DeBary, FL

DESIGNER: Jason Lajkov, Advanced Power Technologies, DeBary, FL

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Advanced Power Technologies, Sign Division, DeBary, FL

MARKING MATERIALS: 3M vinyl and laminate

Appearance is everything. In fact, there has been so much interest in the appearance of Advanced Power Technologies' newly “wrapped” pickup trucks, it is considering expanding the scope of the vehicle graphics campaign. Three trucks were wrapped with 3M vinyl and laminate in March.

The biggest benefits thus far, according to Mark Manfredi, fleet manager, are eye appeal for enhanced advertising purposes and lower exterior vehicle maintenance costs. In addition, the vehicle graphics have “increased employee morale as well as their attention to safety…as the vehicles are easily identified,” he notes. Resale value of the trucks is also good since there is no damage to the vehicle when the graphics are removed. “The paint is in the same condition as when the graphics were installed.”

TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES NORTH AMERICA

Newnan, GA

DESIGNER: Signature Graphics, Porter, IN

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Signature Graphics, Porter, IN

MARKING MATERIALS: 3M reflective, 1J180CVZ-10

At the heart of Triumph Motorcycles' philosophy is a commitment to developing truly unique motorbikes that are distinctive in looks, design and performance. The company is one of the most recognized names in motorcycling and has a history of creating bikes that have become design classics. Naturally, the company wanted an instant classic for its design.

Playing up its uniqueness, the manufacturer's new vehicle graphics campaign focuses on all aspects of the Triumph family of cycles. The new design, adopted in January, has been applied to four company trailers. It incorporates the use of 3M reflective materials to increase visibility and allow the company to advertise during both day and night.

WRIGLEY'S

Chicago, IL

DESIGNER: Wrigley's in-house design team in cooperation with Modagrafics

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics Inc., Rolling Meadows, IL

MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010, digital print

In search of a new look for its company vans in 2007, Wrigley's in-house graphics team combined with Modagrafics to find a classic, yet bold new approach. The team designed two distinct sets of vans, one displaying the classic, fun approach to gum and the other a bold, new look.

Fans of Doublemint and Big Red can find their pleasure in a simple, classic design. Designed in the colors of the gum, the vans are simply stated with the company and brand prominently displayed on the sides and back. People looking for something different will find that on the company's vans for its newest brand, 5. Designed for people looking for more kick in their lives, the vans include a bold, dark look with the number 5 shadowed with a splash of green, blue and red and the slogan “Stimulate your senses.”

PRAIRIE MATERIAL

Bridgeview, IL

DESIGNER: Signature Graphics Inc., Porter, IN

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Signature Graphics Inc., Porter, IN

MARKING MATERIALS: I J180

Say what you will about a bright pink truck, it certainly grabs attention. And when that attention gravitates towards a good cause, it makes those who see the truck on the highway think about an important epidemic.

That is what Prairie Material wanted to do, utilizing a design by Signature Graphics' Dennis Novak to decorate two of its cement trucks with the breast cancer awareness message, inspired by two members of the owner's family having been diagnosed with the disease.

Not only is the truck itself helping the cause, the company is donating 25% of the profits from each yard of concrete delivered by the two pink trucks to the American Cancer Society.

TRANSIT MEDIA GROUP/BIAGI BROS. INC.

Ontario, CA

DESIGNER: Multiple advertising agencies

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Transit Media Group, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

MARKING MATERIALS: Vinyl

Transit Media Group's marketing program is a win-win for everyone. Advertisers get a branding campaign by utilizing vehicle graphics, while trucking companies get paid by Transit Media Group to spread the word on the sides of their vehicles.

Teaming with multiple firms to deliver the marketing campaigns, Transit Media Group uses a proprietary rails system to cover the sides of trailers and give the effect of a smooth, sleek billboard.

“When a consumer sees our graphics on the trailer,” says Michael Scafuto, president of TMG, “they no longer see an old trailer but a beautiful ad that captivates them, giving a good impression of trucks on the road.”

KRAFT FOODS

Champaign, IL

DESIGNER: Meghan Fitzpatrick, Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, NY

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL

MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010, digital print

Kraft is “putting on the Ritz” with bold new graphics that can't be missed. Since so many people make Ritz crackers a part of their everyday get-togethers and social gatherings, the company says Ritz is finding ways to bring a little more fun into their day.

The vehicle graphics campaign kicked off this year and has already been extended to 50 company trailers. Tim Fawver, fleet equipment and safety manager at Kraft Foods, says the bold new look of the trailers “makes our drivers proud.”

KRAFT FOODS

East Hanover, NJ

DESIGNER: Aimee Sommo, EastWest Marketing Group, New York, NY

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL

MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010, digital print

Yabba dabba doo. This truck advertisement capitalizes on the appeal of the loveable Flintstones cartoon characters, using brilliantly colored, eye-catching graphics that depict Barney stealing away with Fred's delicious looking bowl of Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

Aylin Kuyumeu, associate brand manager at Kraft Foods, says the vehicle graphics “showcase our product while communicating a core theme of the brand. It gives us, at a low cost, a ‘moving billboard’ that will be seen by millions of consumers over an extended period of time.” The life expectancy of the Avery digital print graphics is five to seven years.

WESTERN REFINING

El Paso, TX

DESIGNER: Mithoff Burton Partners, El Paso, TX

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Craftsmen Industries, St. Charles, MO

MARKING MATERIALS: 3M

Part of Western Refining's rebranding initiative, the 350 trucks in its fleet — both new and used — were painted with the company logo and name to increase public awareness of the refinery.

The simple, yet effective, design was embossed on the side of the tanker, and the sleek, clean design was painted on the aluminum tank trailers by Craftsmen Industries, using DuPont's Emron paint system, creating a “mobile messenger” for Western Refining.

The graphics were adopted in September 2007, and the fleet's use of reflective materials was designed not only for its general attractiveness but also to increase safety.

Headquartered in El Paso, TX, Western Refining is an independent oil refinery that primarily operates in the Southwestern U.S.

KRAFT FOODS

Champaign, IL

DESIGNER: Meghan Hagreen, McGarry Bowen, New York

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics Inc., Rolling Meadows, IL

MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010, digital print

When Kraft Foods was looking for a way to entice customers to purchase its Ranch dressing and dip, designer Meghan Hagreen of McGarry Bowen came up with a winning design.

Simplistic, yet powerful, 10 Kraft trailers are now adorned with a giant fork, piece of lettuce and a bottle of Ranch dressing.

When viewed from the driver's side of the tractor, a giant fork draws your eyes along the trailer to a crisp piece of lettuce dripping with dressing. The lettuce wraps around the back of the trailer, onto the rear doors where you'll find a bottle of Ranch dressing. Continuing the theme, the same image appears on the passenger side of the trailer, this time the fork drawing the eyes toward the tractor.

Launched this year, Kraft fleet equipment and safety manager Tim Fawver believes the new design makes drivers proud to haul the trailers.

SPECIAL MENTION

TRESCA BROTHERS SAND AND GRAVEL

DESIGNER: Various charities and Johnson Signs, MA

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Johnson Signs, MA

MARKING MATERIALS: Avery Graphic Vinyl

When it comes to creating vehicle graphics for a sand and gravel business, the design choices can be, well, uninspiring. So Tresca Brothers Sand and Gravel, based in Millis, MA, decided to focus not on the raw materials of its business, but on area charities. The result? Vehicle graphics that go beyond advertising to public service and create a sense of pride among Tresca employees.

For the past five years, Tresca Brothers has helped to raise awareness for numerous charities and for support of the U. S. Armed Forces through the unique graphics on the drums of the company's concrete trucks. “There was such a great response from everyone involved that the idea just took off,” fleet manager Pete Cakridas says.

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