Is there anywhere you can look these days without seeing an advertisement? Not. Whether you're looking at ads playing at the checkout line, the fuel pump, in the restroom, or on your phone, ads are everywhere. And now, they're covering cars. It's called a "wrap," and it's gaining popularity with advertisers as they try to reach their target market.
From Buses and Trains to Cars
In 1993, SuperGraphics wrapped a bus in computer-generated vinyl. The Crystal Pepsi ad became the first rolling advertising in this form. Then there was Amtrak. A coach car on San Diego train #773 was wrapped for Holiday Inn Hotels, and it worked effectively.
But this form of advertising is expensive. Smaller companies couldn't take part in this ad medium so easily. Plus, those that can afford it are having to wait. The bus and train supply are limited when you get right down to it. So how do you satisfy supply and demand, reach a target market and offer a cost-effective alternative to buses and trains? The answer is to wrap cars.
There's Big Money in Driving a Wrapped Car
At first, it was Volkswagen Beetles that became colorfully wrapped. Now it's old cars, new cars, SUVs, and minivans. But why should you drive an advertisement on wheels? What about several hundred dollars a month? Or a new car?
Free Car Media offers drivers use of a specific car wrapped in an advertiser's materials. However, these drivers even have to agree to be present at certain promotional events as part of the deal.
Ultimately, it's their advertising client (the sponsor) that decides which kind of vehicle - new or used - that ends up with the product's wrap. If the sponsor decides to give up their vehicle wrap at the end of their contract, the ad space is then sold to another company.
Autowraps pays drivers anywhere between $100 and $3,200 a month. Drivers are selected based on their location, age, sex and car type. They don't offer free vehicles, but over 55,000 people have volunteered to have their personal cars wrapped. Autowraps provides a unique advantage for their clients. Sponsors can purchase wraps for any amount of time. So when the client's ad campaign changes, so can the car.
Drivers generate additional revenue through special promotions, events and distributing product samples and other materials. For example, a driver may be asked to drive their personal, wrapped vehicle to a trade show or store opening.
Since these cars might be on display at special events, depending on the client, they might have special features on them as well. Yahoo! began an ad campaign with wrapped taxis in New York City. These cabs featured wireless Web access inside. Head and Shoulders and Sony both have video monitors inside their wrapped cars to enhance the interactive display.
How to Get Your Car Wrapped
Before you log on to these sites and fill out their questionnaires, consider this: you're not just riding around in your car anymore. Basically, you become a representative of the client. For instance, Free Car educates its drivers on the client's products/services. The company even offers a sample of the product — from soda to computers — when possible.
Execs want you to know everything about the product. When people see you out and about in your wrapped car, they may have questions. This way, you'll know the answers. They also want to know your driving habits. If you have a ten-minute commute and have the car parked in a garage 95% of the time, it's a waste of their money.
Are You a Prime Candidate?
You can expect to be grilled about your driving habits. The questionnaires may ask what your typical day is like. How long do you spend commuting to work or school? How often do you eat at restaurants? All of this information is gathered to match up your daily activities with the client's needs.
Say you work out in a gym five days a week and you've got season tickets to the Jaguars' home games. You'd be the ideal candidate for a Nike wrap.
Finally, Can You Handle All The Attention?
If you're extremely shy, then driving an advertisement on wheels probably isn't for you. Not only do you get a lot of looks, but you'll also even get waves, and you might even make a friend or two.