Making a good impression

June 1, 2007
It's common wisdom that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, but when you roll by tens of thousands of people a day, you hope that first impression makes them good and hungry, at least if you're in the hamburger business.



Ontario, CA

Designer: March Inc.

Graphics Supplier: Lowen Color Graphics

Marking Materials: 3M 180 CVZ Series

It's common wisdom that you only get one chance to make a good first impression, but when you roll by tens of thousands of people a day, you hope that first impression makes them good and hungry, at least if you're in the hamburger business.

Carl Jr.'s has approximately 1,000 restaurants it services out of two distribution centers in Ontario and Manteca, CA, with a fleet of 50 tractors and 100 trailers. The fleet markings were not only outdated — touting a 60th anniversary in 2001 — but they were also showing a lot of wear. Not the best image for selling fast food, especially when you're after the premium quality portion of that market.

The new design combines three key visual elements in the Carl Jr.'s story. The first is an updated version of its well-established “Lucky Star” and script logo. The second, a photo emphasizing the large size and fresh ingredients touted by its flagship charbroiled burgers. Then picking up on the company's 1950s Southern California drive-in roots, the designers added hot-rod worthy exhaust pipes and flames.

Trailers and matching tractors are painted simple black, offering a dramatic background for the new graphics, while five “mobile restaurants” used eye-catching red to set off the new design.

The result: One glance is all it takes for motorists and pedestrians to work up a sudden craving for one of Carl Jr.'s monster burgers.


Nashville, TN

Designer: TBWA\Chiat\Day

Graphics Supplier: EPIC Media Group

Marking Materials: Kwik Zip

Here's a clever ad campaign that not only takes advantage of a trailer's graphic space, but actually uses the truck itself to deliver its message. The fleet's tractors, which distribute parts to both Infiniti and Nissan dealerships, make strong examples of utilitarian machines, contrasting sharply with the company's newest luxury G Sedan, a vehicle so well designed that it transcends the category of mere machine.

Used to help Infiniti launch the new G Sedan series, the graphics are full trailer wraps mounted with the Kwik Zip system. The dramatic photography is drawn from a similar print campaign, but takes advantage of the long horizontal span of the trailer's sidewall to emphasize the motion inherent in the new car's flowing design.

Forty-four of the Nissan Parts and Service fleet's 126 tractor-trailer combinations carry the new ad, which was created by one of the world's leading ad agencies.


Napa, CA

Designer: Various ad agencies

Graphics Supplier: Trans Media Group

Marking Materials: Vinyl billboards

As a dedicated carrier for breweries in the Western U.S., Biagi Brothers rolls up a lot of miles with its 350 tractors and 477 trailers. And that time on the road offered the fleet an additional source of revenue — rolling billboards.

Working with Trans Media Group of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, the fleet now collects advertising fees for 25 to 30 ad campaigns running at any one time. From shampoo to concerts to motorcycles, print ads are adapted by the agencies that created them to fit the trailer format. Printed on replaceable vinyl sheets that attach to the trailer sidewalls on tracks, the ads then run for three months to a year before being replaced by another paying advertiser.

Combining commerce and art, Biagi Broothers has replaced its plain white dry vans with colorful, entertaining graphics that also pay their own way.


Minneapolis, MN

Designer: EPIC Media Group

Graphics Supplier: EPIC Media Group

Marking Materials: Flexible vinyl and KWIK ZIP Graphics System

The “Old El Paso” dedicated fleet has been given a “new” look. Tony Jolly, manager-dry transportation operations, says these eye-catching graphics do more than promote a brand that has been around since the 1930s. “They promote safety due to the added visibility.” He notes that the quality and appearance of the graphics is intended to support the quality of Old El Paso products and the company behind the brand.

In creating the new design, EPIC Media Group's goal was to generate excitement for Mexican food via mouth-watering photography. The graphics reinforce elements incorporated into product packaging, including the yellow color, red tile roof, and Old El Paso logo with sun and desert mesa scene. They also integrate with the yellow and green colors of the tractor fleet.


Morehead City, NC

Designer: Big Rock Sports

Graphics Supplier: Signature Graphics

Marking Materials: 3M non-reflective, JJ-180

Big sports call for big graphics. That's how two of Big Rock Sports' straight trucks got their new, big, bold and beautiful vehicle graphics designs.

According to the company, Big Rock Sports wanted to improve the overall look of its truck fleet, so they began offering the sides of their trucks as advertising space to suppliers. The strategy has proved successful with the new graphics increasing awareness of both Big Rock Sports and their vendors' brand names.


Philadelphia, PA

Designer: Signature Graphics

Graphics Supplier: Signature Graphics

Marking Materials: 3M non-reflective

Viewers of these vehicle graphics are invited to “ride the wave” along with adventure lovers everywhere who are enjoying “liquid energy” drinks. Cintron Beverage Group's design, which cleverly “sits on ice,” is aimed at getting consumers to recognize the Cintron brand.

Signature Graphics' vehicle graphics were adopted by Cintron's private fleet in June 2006 and have been applied to ten company vans. The design, the graphics company notes, was meant to be universal so it could be adapted to many different types of vehicles for future use. Decals are expected to last three years on the vans, which are coated with Dupont enamel paint.


Arlington, VA

Designer: Williams Whittle

Graphics Supplier: Signature Graphics Inc.

Marking Materials: 3M 180

Carrying USO programs and services to military installations across the country, three new mobile canteens replace far plainer vehicles that had been nicknamed “Good Humor Trucks” by the soldiers, sailors and marines they visit.

The military personnel served are most interested in the new trucks' interiors, which offer a lounge, a wireless Internet café, a gaming area and a canteen to help rest and relax even in the most remote posts. However, the welcome these service trucks are intended to offer starts on the outside.

The new design replaces the old plain vanilla trucks with bold graphics that combine the modern army's camo with bold lettering and a most patriotic red, white and blue, and setting it all off with polished aluminum wheels. No chimes are needed to draw a crowd when these trucks roll into a base.


Ann Arbor, MI

Designer: Siegal & Gale

Graphics Supplier: Modagrafics Inc.

Marking Materials: N/A

When it comes time to devising striking designs for trucks and trailers, private fleets often have a ready-made source of graphic elements in their product or service offerings. It's a different story for the for-hire carriers, which often have little more than a corporate logo.

With a combined fleet of 7,200 tractors and 30,000 trailers, Con-way is among the country's largest for-hire carriers. Its challenge was to develop a graphic DNA for the company that could be extended to its various operating units, tying them all to the overall company, but still allowing each to have its own identity.

Unveiled in 2006, Con-way's new design template combines the clean simplicity of white tractors and trailers with understated color graphics that highlight the aerodynamic lines of its modern equipment. And tying together all the operating units is the same blue color pallet for those graphics and the familiar Con-way script logo.

The result? A look for each of its fleets that is simple, modern and readily identifiable as a member of the Con-way family.


Indianapolis, IN

Designer: Amanda Byer, Firestone Industrial Prods.

Graphics Supplier: TKO Graphix

Marking Materials: 3M 680 red and white reflective, 3M 180 black

In case you couldn't already tell by the all-reflective graphics on this truck, safety is a big priority at Firestone Industrial Products (FSIP). The use of 3M reflective graphics, also “gets our message out 24 hours a day,” says Lori Price, FSIP division logistics manager. One truck covered with the new design was prominently displayed across the street from the Louisville Expo Center during MATS in March. According to Price, the graphics were very well received.

The main goal of the new design, she notes, was to incorporate FSIP's new logo, which stresses who the company is. “The Firestone logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, but when people see it, they automatically think tires.” FSIP wanted people to know it makes air springs and that the term “Airide” is its trademark.


Glendora, CA

Designer: Carol Serrano of Armstrong Growers

Graphics Supplier: EPIC Media Group

Marking Materials: Flexible vinyl and KWIK ZIP Graphics System

Armstrong Growers is showing off some of its prized specimens. “Our business brings color to a green dominated tree and shrub landscape,” says James Russell, vp Armstrong Growers. “The plants inside our trucks are the brightly colored spice that allows people to notice their surroundings and feel good about their home or places they pass through.”

The graphics, which were applied to 12 of the company's fleet vehicles, are designed to convey the same good feeling as the vehicles pass through the urban freeways of Southern California. The beauty to be found inside the trucks, Russell comments, is now matched on the outside with the new vehicle graphics. Drivers, he says, receive many compliments from the people they come in contact with.


East Hanover, NJ

Designer: Draft FCB

Graphics Supplier: Modagrafics

Marking Materials: Avery MPI 1010 digital print

Who can resist a delicious chocolate chip cookie? No one can, judging by these graphics. The idea behind the company's new “They Go Fast!” ad campaign was to break through the traditional advertising clutter and captivate viewers in a different and exciting way. The new vehicle graphics, which were applied to 25 company tractor-trailers, proved to be just the right thing.

Chips Ahoy! worked closely with Modagrafics to create these intriguing truck graphics. The vehicles depict the “story” of how quickly the cookies go, through the use of technologically advanced 3-D graphics that make the inside of the trailer appear to be vacant save for the empty cookie packages left behind. The brand's mascots, Cookie Guys, are also prominently displayed on the trailer's sides to reinforce the message with 6-ft. cookies that are impossible to ignore.

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