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Graphic Influence

June 5, 2014
It’s been said time and time again—the side of your vehicle is your best advertising.  Wrapping vehicles in graphics can promote your brand, your products, or maybe even a charity.  Because of that, fleets are taking vehicle graphics as seriously as ever.

It’s been said time and time again—the side of your vehicle is your best advertising.  Wrapping vehicles in graphics can promote your brand, your products, or maybe even a charity.  Because of that, fleets are taking vehicle graphics as seriously as ever.

The Sign & Graphics Div. of Alliance Franchise Brands, a marketing and visual communications company, produced a white paper on the impact that graphics can have for a business.  According to that company, a full wrap that costs $3,000 put on a vehicle that travels on the road 365 days and is seen 70,000 times a day (called impressions) results in an 11¢ cost per thousand impressions (CPM).  To put that in perspective, the firm compared it to other forms of advertising.  The cost for television advertising ranges from $10 CPM for a local broadcast to $35 CPM for a primetime show.  Radio has a CPM of about $4.

The Outdoor Advertising Assn. of America (OAAA) reported further on the value of vehicle graphics, reporting that fleet vehicle advertising surpasses name recognition 15 times more than any other form of advertising.  Also, 91% of participants could recall significant portions of vehicle wrap advertisements they see regularly on their commutes, and 90% of participants thought vehicle wraps had a positive impact on a brand’s perception.  In fact, the OAAA survey also found that 96% of participants thought vehicle wraps were more effective than billboard advertising.

What follows are some leading examples of how fleets are leveraging vehicle graphics.  The winners chosen by the Fleet Owner staff, including our Editor’s Choice Award winner, represent examples of how key words and images can effectively promote a brand.  So browse through the following pages as Fleet Owner presents its Annual Vehicle Graphics Awards finalists.

Editor's Choice


Location: Milwaukee, WI

Designer: MillerCoors Design Firm

Graphics supplier: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL

Beer promotions have a long history in American society, dating back to when beer first captured the attention of consumers. MillerCoors took advantage of eight trailers within its fleet to promote its new Batch 19 “pre-prohibition style beers.”

In keeping with the “pre-prohibition” theme, the company decked out the trailers in what we can assume are barrels filled with beer.  The imagery of the old wooden barrels invokes the time period when prohibition was the law of the land.  Left unsaid, of course, is that the company’s Batch 19 beers represent a revival of that era’s golden brews.

“Through this design, we wanted to display a design that would speak directly to the consumers,” says Sandra Gallo, procurement manager. 

The graphics, expected to last more than seven years, also improve the safety of the vehicles, Gallo adds.  The imagery is such that drivers can easily see the vehicles coming.  Ease of cleaning is another benefit, Gallo reports.

Alpha Baking Co.

Location: Chicago, IL

Designer: Stephanie Powell, Alpha Baking Co.

Graphics supplier: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL

Making the decision to go with propane as a fuel, Alpha Baking Co., which operates a fleet of 22 S. Rosen’s Baking Co. vehicles, wanted to promote that fact while still staying consistent with its branding. The result was this design using subtle browns with occasional dashes of red to help key words “jump” off the sides of the vehicles. The entire fleet has been outfitted with the new graphics, which first appeared in June 2013 and will likely remain the primary image for the next five years.

“The goal of the new graphics was to draw attention to our new alternative-fueled, propane-powered trucks,” says Robert McGuire, vice president, director of logistics.  “The design was meant to highlight what was exciting about these trucks—that they were clean, modern and innovative.  We wanted to make it clear to the public that this was a propane-powered truck, the benefits of propane power, and what that meant to them.  In the process, we also wanted to clearly tie our brand to this innovative technology and position ourselves as a brand that cares about our local community.”

The words doting the sides of the vehicles identify the key attributes and products offered by the company, while the rear verbiage focuses on the fuel efficiency and environmental benefits of propane power.

“Our new graphics definitely create a very visible truck that is both bright and distinctive. It is clearly an S.Rosen’s truck and carrying a strong branding and eco-friendly message as it goes about its deliveries,” says McGuire.

Tielke’s Sandwiches

Location: Norfolk NE

Designer: Love Signs, Norfolk, NE

Graphics supplier: Love Signs, Norfolk, NE

Hungry?  If you weren’t before seeing a Tielke’s Sandwiches vehicle, you will certainly be after.  For Tielke‘s Sandwiches, which delivers sandwiches, pizza, burritos and other deli wholesale items to convenience stores, supermarkets, vending machines and custom special delivery options, its new wrap displays the mouth-watering products its vehicles distribute in a five-state area.

“Our goal with the new design was advertising,” says Jerry Tielke, owner.  “We do very little advertising, so this truck is one rolling billboard for us. It is on the road four days a week and for 1,000 mi. We thought this would be a perfect way to show off our sandwiches.”

The wrap features the company name and website on a solid color background next to what appears to be a stack of fresh sandwiches just waiting to be eaten.  The graphic, which is expected to last eight years, is both simple yet quite effective and takes a tried-and-true approach to vehicle advertising: display the product and promote the brand.

It also provides other benefits, Tielke says.  “Our new design helps to stand out in the elements so that when we are on the road the vehicle can be seen well at all times.”

Houweling’s Tomatoes

Location: Camarillo, CA

Designer: Ela Stasi, EPIC Worldwide

Graphics supplier: EPIC Worldwide, Las Vegas, NV

Houweling’s Tomatoes felt it was missing a branding opportunity as its fleet of nine trailers traveled the I-5 corridor on a daily basis.  After all, how could anyone learn about the beneficial attributes of the firm’s signature product when all they saw was a solid white trailer?  So Houweling’s enlisted the help of graphics company EPIC Worldwide, which designed a fresh-looking graphic with which to wrap the trailers.

“With our goods being transported throughout the United States and specifically up and down the I-5 corridor, we saw a significant missed advertising and brand awareness opportunity by not having branded trailers.  Furthermore, there is a sense of pride our employees feel when seeing the branded trailers on their commute or at our farms,” says David Bell, CMO of Houweling’s Tomatoes.

The wraps feature the company’s logo situated in the center and hands holding all the tomato varieties offered, showing off their sweet deliciousness. Running along the bottom is the phrase that clearly identifies what the company’s product is all about: greenhouse goodness … in good hands.

North Shore Greenhouses

Location: Thermal, CA

Designer: Soterious Anagnostou, Desert Wraps

Graphics supplier: Desert Wraps, Palm Desert, CA

Based in Southern California, North Shore Greenhouses saw the chance to use its vehicles as rolling billboards to promote its products.  It’s done just that, with a wrap from Desert Wraps that proudly displays “The Roots of Great Taste,” North Shore’s Living Herbs.

“This new design promotes our company and its unique products throughout Southern California,” says Leo Overgaag, president.  “When our drivers are on the highway, they are able to promote our products just by driving.”

With bold, yet carefully crafted, color combinations, the herbs virtually jump off the sides of the straight trucks at passers-by.  The company website address is prominently displayed. Further, product packaging is shown, helping consumers identify the items when in stores.

“This new design also allows customers to access our website,” says Overgaag.  “The reason why we chose to add our website on the design is to allow our consumers to be able to learn about our company and the unique products we offer.  The design of the wrap was all based upon our unique products.  We wanted our wrap to represent the fact that our products ‘are alive.’”

Green Valley Recycling and Disposal Service

Location: Walker, MI

Designer: Gary Polsinelli, Brand You Graphics

Graphics supplier: Brand You Graphics, Grand Rapids, MI

For Green Valley Recycling and Disposal Service, the point of adorning one of its 10 refuse trucks with graphics went beyond merely promoting a clean-looking vehicle.  “We wanted to really promote recycling and since most new customers say they found out about us by seeing our trucks, we thought it would be a good idea to really make this new truck ‘pop,’” says Ed Dryfhout, vice president.  “The first week the driver said he never had so many people walk up to him and comment on how nice his truck was.  Our drivers do a great job of taking care of their trucks so we were not afraid to try something like this on a garbage truck.”

The graphics include reflective tape surrounding the body for safety reasons.  They feature a green and white color scheme with the company’s name, phone number, slogan (“We make it easy to be Green”) and recycling logo all prominently displayed.

Dryfhout says the company expects to enter the truck into parades to help raise awareness of recycling and improve the visibility of the company locally as a “preferred hauling provider.”
Green Valley expects the graphic, even in the dirty business of trash collection, to last about five years with regular washings.

Regional Distributors

Location: Rochester, NY

Designer: Amanda Kelley, Regional Distributors; and Kris Boyle, TrueNorth Marketing

Graphics supplier:  N/A

Regional Distributors delivers business convenience—paper, packaging and janitorial products—that every business needs.  But it also needed a branding and marketing initiative last fall to help reinforce and further deepen customer relationships and promote public awareness of the firm’s services.  The brainchild of Amanda Kelley and Kris Boyle, the new graphics, which include the “Why go anywhere else” tagline, appear on two vans. In addition, a second branding initiative, with the tagline of “Your Business is Our Business,” was added to two straight trucks and one trailer.

“Our company’s commitment to providing convenience, ease, and exceptional customer service experiences is reflected in our new vehicle graphics that feature a clean, open, people-centric design that focuses on the value we deliver and the markets we service,” says David Scalen, vice president and general manager. “From the time our first truck rolled out in 1994, Regional’s significant growth and accomplishments have stemmed from a strong dedication to upholding our company’s mission. Our mission and core values center around two principles: 1) genuine enthusiasm and passion for creating exceptional customer service experiences, and 2) a deep understanding of and commitment to effective teamwork. Our new vehicle graphics reflect both of these principles through original photography of our two well-known team members and photos that represent professionals from the primary markets we service.”


Location: Los Angeles, CA

Designer: N/A

Graphics supplier: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL

When you operate a gossip website, your choices about branding are usually just as bold as your content.  For TMZ, that rings true with its fleet of TMZ Tour buses. 

Boldly painted red, there is little doubt as to who operates this sightseeing extravaganza.  The letters TMZ are printed big and bold on the side in solid black with white outline and gray shading.  They reinforce what the TMZ brand is all about, carrying the company’s branding through the website, television show and onto the vehicles.

“The goal and the benefits of this design was to raise brand awareness through a design that would speak directly to consumers.  The bright graphics draw in more customers and help solidify the professionalism of the TMZ tours,” says Andy Mauer, executive with TMZ.

The graphics feature a crisp, clean design that is both visible to other drivers and pedestrians and easy to clean, says Mauer.

Load One

Location: Taylor, MI

Designer: Jason Skidmore, Lakeshore Utility Graphics

Graphics supplier: Lakeshore Utility Graphics, Romulus, MI

Since 9/11, there have been many tributes to the nation’s military, including special graphics that have adorned trucks and trailers throughout the country.  Load One, a transportation and logistics provider, is one of those fleets that has gotten it right.

“[The goal is] to reflect and give thanks to our men and women in the Armed Services, so that their sacrifices are remembered and reflected upon,” says CEO John Elliott.  “We use them for events such as Wreaths Across America, Toys for Tots, parades, military and industry events.”

Designed to be both eye-popping and respectful of the efforts of the troops, the special graphics feature images of military members and equipment in action along with a special “Our Freedom Isn’t Free/Thank You, Veterans!” appearing on both the front and back of the two trailers with the tribute graphics.

“The appearance is amazing,” says Elliott.  “The impact that these trailers make is far beyond anything we imagined.  The drivers are proud to get a chance to haul these special trailers and take part as ambassadors of our company.”

Expected to last about six years, the graphics are sure to grab the attention of any driver who sees the vehicles on the nation’s highways.  The underlying hope is that they evoke the strong emotions to remind us all of the dangers members of the military face on a daily basis to keep the U.S. and its citizens safe.

Northeast Delta Dental

Location: Concord, NH

Designer: EPIC Worldwide, Las Vegas, NV

Graphics supplier: EPIC Worldwide, Las Vegas, NV

How do you blend oral health and trucking?  Northeast Delta Dental found the right mix with its new graphics, which appear on 10 vehicles.  Delta Dental has branded the trailers with a clever mix of brand identity and general happiness, hoping to promote and encourage people to take advantage of the company’s dental services.

“We wanted to [encourage] consumers to take good care of their oral health and promote our new individual and family dental plans in an unusual way,” says Kathleen Walker, director of marketing and communications.

The company has done that with this design, which made its first appearance late in 2012. The last half of the trailers’ sides include the company’s name along with an easy-to-remember website address (something that is crucial for passing motorists) for consumers to visit to learn more about the company’s dental plans. Also displayed again is an easy-to-remember phone number.

The front half of the trailers’ sides is what draws immediate attention.  The use of various colored letters and people combine to spell out the phrase “Smile!”  Something every dentist is only too happy to have their customers do.

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