Trucks are everywhere, and they're moving through dense areas of population as they transport food and beverage products from warehouses to retail outlets.
This is nothing new, but what's covering the trucks is.
The past decade has seen an explosion in graphic advertisements adorning the outside of these vehicles: huge, bright explosions of color that beg for consumer attention as they motor past people on the road. These rolling ads are often wrapped around trucks in ingenious fashion, delighting ob-servers in their complexity and design.
"Companies that have their own trucks and trailers are outdoor advertising entities," says Shelley Smith, president of Epic Media Group, an El Segundo, CA-based marketing and media company that has been helping to brand fleets with advertising campaigns for years. "Fleets offer the unique opportunity to advertise virtually for free."
"Today it is getting harder to reach customers through traditional advertising," says Thomas Moore, executive director of the National Private Truck Council, Alexandria, VA. "Audience viewership is in massive decline, which is attributable to hundreds of new cable stations, TiVO, commercial-free radio and the Internet."
"Our customers report that it has become a real challenge for the advertising departments to deal with the high cost of reaching traditional media audiences, which shrink daily," Smith says. "However, the consumer audience in traffic is growing every day."
Indeed, according to experts, people are spending more time in traffic than ever before. Commute times in the U.S. have increased in the last decade upwards of 250 percent. Studies conducted by the Traffic Audit Bureau indicate that the average fleet vehicle is seen by at least 60,000 people, that's present and prospective customers, every single day.
Recently, 3M, a St. Paul, MN-based supplier of vinyl film to the fleet graphics industry, measured the advertising effectiveness of fleet graphics for Cadbury-Schweppes Co. by utilizing GPS units to track 10 trucks moving through two major metropolitan areas. The study, which ran for three months, involved the correlation of truck routes against zip codes and demographic data, to deliver the most accurate measurements of message effectiveness.
Rolling Billboards Work
The study found that fleet graphics generate a huge number of viewings. In the case of the Cadbury-Schweppes study, it was discovered that each truck averaged a six million prime daily effective circulation. According to the American Trucking Association, a single intra-city truck with graphics on it is able to generate up to 16 million "visual impressions" per year.
"Rolling billboards," the NPTC's Moore says, "attract more attention and reach. They are similar to stationary billboards in respect to size and location; however, they're positioned right in front of the target audience."
Such billboards are more advantageous than traditional billboards, because they also offer viewership from the front, sides and rear of the vehicle.
"You can do the sides, the back and then there are even full wraps," notes Robin Strauss, business development manager for 3M's Graphics Market Center. "There are even some wraps that include the top of the truck, because if you're driving a beverage truck downtown, people from the tall buildings will be able to see what's on top."
What's more, viewers remember the ads they see on trucks. A study by the ad agency RYP & Becker Group revealed that 97 percent of survey respondents recalled an ad on a particular truck and 98 percent of the same respondents felt the ad created a positive image of the advertiser.
The in-depth types of information available today to companies through market research allows them to fine tune their fleet advertising.
"We just had a report on Jack In The Box," says Smith. "It justifies why fleet time works for them over other mediums."