Creativity on Wheels

Put the sophisticated vehicle graphics technology available today together with some of the best imaginations in the business of brand promotion and you've got a winning combination. Just look at these selections from the annual FLEET OWNER Vehicle Graphics Awards contest for some excellent examples of Creativity on Wheels. EDITOR'S CHOICE KRAFT FOODS GLENVIEW, IL Kraft is talking turkey with these

Put the sophisticated vehicle graphics technology available today together with some of the best imaginations in the business of brand promotion and you've got a winning combination. Just look at these selections from the annual FLEET OWNER Vehicle Graphics Awards contest for some excellent examples of Creativity on Wheels.




Kraft is “talking turkey” with these hilarious graphics, which were timed for release just prior to Thanksgiving last year. The clever “turkey graffiti” vehicle graphics ran in conjunction with billboard advertisement and television spots as part of Kraft's ad campaign for Miracle Whip.

Rhasheda Boyd, associate brand manager, says the concept was that “as we approached Thanksgiving, the turkeys became more nervous and began a campaign on their own to discourage this national pastime.” The design is featured on seven of the company's trailer fleet.

“We change graphics on the trailers every three years to give a fresh look to our product presentation,” Boyd explains, “tying humor in with our message to capture those exposures for an extra few seconds or so. This was one of the more fun projects to work on.”

The company reports that the bright graphics, with their entertaining message, grabbed the attention of many consumers. It grabbed us, too, earning Kraft “Editor's Choice” for FLEET OWNER's 2006 Vehicle Graphics Awards.

GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics, Rolling Meadows, IL
MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010 digital print



Plumbing is not usually hailed as an exciting or creative business, but that didn't stop this fleet from figuring out a way to make its trucks meet both criteria.

As Bill Tucker, president of General Plumbing Supply, explained, GPS “wanted to upgrade from lettering and striping to a full-coverage design that is more powerful and communicative.”

Bold, dramatic colors like the orange-gold and fuchsia certainly contribute to the powerful design. You couldn't pass a GPS vehicle on the road and not take note. As far as communication goes, the nitty-gritty details of what the business is all about are obvious from the graphics. And getting in touch with GPS shouldn't be a problem: both the toll-free number and web site are in full view on the cab.

New graphics can put a dent in any fleet budget, but GPS found a way to have its cake and eat it, too. “By co-oping with a strong business partner — in this case, Rheem — the new truck graphic was a financial success because Rheem picked up the tab,” Tucker said.

The new graphics can be seen on about a third of the GPS fleet. And GPS couldn't be more proud. “This fleet now looks expensive and like one of the best maintained fleets in the country,” added Tucker. We'd have to agree.

DESIGNER: Signature Graphics
GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Signature Graphics
MARKING MATERIALS: 3M 180 series, non-reflective



Moen has taken its national ad campaign on the road — literally. The private fleet has been given a brand new look, with trailer graphics taken directly from Moen's consumer “M” print ads.

The larger-than-life block letters spread across the trailer sides are cut from photos of Moen faucets, so anyone not familiar with the high-end brand name will realize right away what the fuss is all about. And putting quotes around the “M's” should get viewers to say “Mmmmmm.”

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the eight words in the company's motto — “Buy it for looks. Buy it for life.” — communicate quickly and concisely the theme of the ad campaign.

For continuity, design elements are also placed on the backs of the trailers. And for potential customers who may want to head for the information highway when they get off the Interstate, Moen's web address is easy to spot. A wise move indeed.

The fleet says its new graphics are easier to clean and maintain. For a company that touts the clean, sleek design of its products, that's a real plus.

DESIGNER: Moen Inc. & Marc USA
MARKING MATERIALS: Flexible vinyl & KWIK ZIP System



If there's any image more nostalgic than the milkman in his delivery truck, it's the glass milk bottle. At Oberweis Dairy, both are more than nostalgia — the company still operates a fleet of home delivery trucks and still offers milk in a glass bottle. And so the company has decided to use those trucks to trumpet its dedication to old-fashioned service and quality.

The central image in Oberweis' new fleet marking is an historic picture of a uniformed milkman and his truck flanked by the company's iconic glass milk bottle. Echoing the old photo, the new design resurrects the company's original image of three dairy cows along side the logo and its traditional motto: “Simply the Best.”

Business, though, is more than nostalgia, and Oberweis hasn't remained a fixture in its Midwestern market by ignoring changes in consumer preferences. The full scope of the dairy's modern product line is reproduced in new graphics for the rear of its van bodies, which, of course, include a most modern toll-free telephone number and web site address for ordering home delivery.

With a bit more room to work with, the fleet's retail delivery fleet of refrigerated straight trucks and trailers combine both nostalgic and product images in a single panel.

DESIGNER: Signature Graphics
GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Signature Graphics
MARKING MATERIALS: 3M 180-10 and IJ180C10



Water, water everywhere. With more bottled waters floating about the marketplace than a diviner could shake a stick at, how do you make a splash with your brand — especially when it's brand new? If you're Primo Water Corp., you present the product's name, its packaging , and a cool slogan and fun “warning label” appetizingly along the sides and backs of your crisp-as-linen white beverage trailers.

“Being a start-up company, it's important for us to gain as much visibility with retailers and consumers as possible,” points out Rob Wiles, supply chain manager for Primo. “Placing the design on our vehicles was a logical choice.”

Primo's private fleet consists of 30 tractors, 100 trailers and a straight truck and the graphics — adopted last year — appear on 30 of the vehicles. For safety's sake, the clean but bold graphics grab the eye at night too, as reflective materials were used on the sides and rears of the beverage trailers treated.

“We have had numerous calls and web site hits related to sightings of a Primo Water truck or trailer,” reports Wiles. “Our message is being well-received and the vehicle decals are helping to generate a lot of excitement too.” And perhaps a powerful thirst for anyone traveling by a Primo Water mobile.

DESIGNER: Carrie Collins, in-house
GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Modagrafics, Inc.



Canyon Creek Cabinet realized that it was missing a great opportunity to build brand awareness by running nothing but white trucks and trailers with no visual elements beyond a logo and phone number.

In-house designer Renee St. Peter came up with a bold graphic concept for its trailers that lets the company showcase its three cabinet styles in beautiful room settings. Understanding that people are more likely to remember a name than a phone number seen in passing, the web address is placed just under its logo.

Complementing the trailer graphics, tractors are painted a matching dark blue with logo and DOT markings in white, and a large white logo was added to the roof fairings.

A field service van, which spends much of its time in residential neighborhoods, was given a similar, but more visually complex set of graphics that wraps around the sides of the body and onto the rear door.

DESIGNER: In-house
MARKING MATERIALS: 3M 180-10C with 3M 8519 Lustre laminate



There's a reason the sheep on the side of the Serta trailer looks so forlorn — he's out of a job. As the words over the flock on the rear trailer door announce: “So comfortable you'll never count on these guys again.”

Not only does the fleet sport an eye-catching new look, it's one that ties into the company's print and TV ad campaign. “We wanted to freshen up our look and take advantage of our national advertising program of the talking Serta sheep,” said Barbara Bradford, sr. vp-marketing & merchandising.

With their midnight-blue background and the outline of the moon circling the Serta logo, the fleet's new graphics have “sleep” written all over them. And that's just what the mattress maker wants the traveling public to associate with its name.

But rest assured, there will be no dozing off on the road with these fresh, eye-grabbing graphics.

DESIGNER: Ben Berning, Design Associate, Modagrafics
MARKING MATERIALS: Avery; MPI 1010 and FT 1002



“Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee.” Or should we say “Douwe Egberts,” one of Sara Lee's premium coffee brands. It's only fitting the company should choose premium vehicle graphics to promote the brand. The introduction of Dodge Sprinter vans into the fleet last spring was the perfect opportunity for Sara Lee to do so. The design was adopted on 13 vehicles, which were completely wrapped, including the roofs.

The project posed the challenge of an extremely difficult graphic installation, but Signature Graphics answered the call with stunning images and professional installation. “We were very impressed with the finished product,” says Peter Nester, fleet manager. “We've [also] been pleased with the reaction from our employees and the public. We've showcased our quality products in a dramatic and memorable way.”

DESIGNER: DeForest Group
GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Signature Graphics
MARKING MATERIALS: 3M IJ180C-10 Scotchprint vinyl



Having grown into the country's second largest refuse collection company through acquisition, Allied Waste decided it was time to replace its regional and local fleet markings with a new design to help brand the company's image as a national presence.

The result was a clean and bold logo combined with an attractive blue paint and white striping for a strong, refined image. And since refuse service involves long days on local city and suburban streets, the company also had its new markings do double-duty by specifying reflective materials to help its trucks stand out during those early morning runs.

With 13,000 collection trucks in the fleet, moving to a single marking scheme is no simple job, especially when those trucks are on a seven-year repainting cycle.

The solution was printing the logo and other decals on a removable reflective material designed to last seven years even under the tough conditions experienced by the fleet's route trucks.

DESIGNER: In-house
MARKING MATERIAL: Avery NV 1300 reflective



Hot off the press! And guaranteed to grab eyeballs is this fetching new fleet graphic campaign promoting the Windy City's main read. Using the Trib's “Inky” icon mascot, four key feature sections are heralded on the sides and backs of 56 delivery vans.

“Our goal is to have [vehicle graphic] advertising that is consistent with all our media promotions using ‘Inky’ to present four of our feature sections: Sports, Editorial, Sales and Sunday,” explains Tom Morrissey, manager of fleet & equipment.

Helping make the whole package work are the decidedly modern icon-driven graphics, as well as the “blue gradient” color used in place of white for the base paint. In addition, further visual punch is packed by the full-coverage graphic wraps. Other compelling elements include providing an easy-to-read 800 number and web site address.

DESIGNER: Jim Noone, Sr. Print Producer, DDB
MARKING MATERIALS: Avery MPI 1010, digital print



It's hard enough to be eye candy on Miami Beach on any old day of the year. But to do it during last year's MTV Video Music Awards took semi-trailers — five to be exact — decorated for maximum bling with album art displayed way bigger than life.

“The new designs created mass visual appearance and heightened public awareness,” says Epic's creative director, Sara Christensen. “People were running alongside the trucks as they traveled down Miami Beach for the awards. The goal was to create a visual stimulus that would resonate with the crowd, increasing record and merchandise sales. It worked!”

Christensen points out that the trucks were rented for the event and their sides were protected by using the Kwik Zip frame system and removable vinyl graphics, which can be reused for other events, saving time and money

“There is no other advertising media that could have so effectively reached so many in such a short period of time,” she rightly adds. In our view, Interscope Records and Epic Media deserve special mention for demonstrating how rolling billboards can rock.

DESIGNER: Sara Christensen, creative director, Epic Media Group
GRAPHICS SUPPLIER: Epic Media Group/Kwik Zip System
MARKING MATERIALS: KwikZip & flexible vinyl

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