Marketers Keep Company Cars Under Wraps for More Message

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When a Rick’s Bakery delivery truck wrapped in colorful graphics was struck and damaged, owner Rick Boone had to send an entire panel of the vehicle to Dallas to have the damage repaired.

“Not many people in the area were doing it back then,” owner Rick Boone said regarding the process of wrapping an entire vehicle in vinyl adhesive. He had the company vehicle wrapped in early 2007.

Today many area businesses specialize in the service from initial design to installation. In as little as three weeks, automobiles businesses drive each day could serve as a moving marketing platform sure to turn heads.

For $10 to $15 per square foot, business owners can convert their automobiles into roaming billboards that last for up to three years. Cost of wrapping a vehicle is determined primarily by square footage, but number of panels and amount of time spent on the design also factor into the price.

“We’ll take pictures of the company vehicle and get really good measurements and then we’ll get that into the computer and scale that up to size and basically we’ll just mock up, based on their ideas,” said Mike Niccum, owner of Graphics By Mike in Springdale. “Once they approve that, we’ll do what we call making it real.”

“Making it real” means printing the multiple panels of vinyl adhesive and applying them to vehicles.

“There are several companies that make the material but we always use 3M,” Niccum said. “They basically invented the stuff.”

Picture a huge sticker that attaches seamlessly to a car door or even a rear window. Once printed, these giant adhesive sheets may be applied in a few days and have a staying power of three years or more, depending on wear and tear.

Among Niccum’s clients are Gillette, McNaughton Realty and Fast Lane Bowl, whose rainbow-colored eye-catching Hummer, serves to promote the new entertainment destination in Rogers. This wrap utilized between 230 to 250 square feet and cost about $4,000, a price tag that included the design and instillation.

“We basically gave him a concept and told him to work with it and use his artistic freedom to create it,” said Bobby Eichler of Fast Lane Bowl. “Any impact we have has been positive.

“We actually worry about people paying too much attention while driving down the road,” he said when asked about any negative aspects of vehicle wraps. “We definitely get peoples’ heads turning while we’re driving.”

At Northwest Arkansas Sign Shop in Fayetteville, owner Steve Holden prides himself in the many printers he utilizes to print banners and vinyl adhesive.

“This printer is museum quality,” he said pointing to a large format printer. “This could reproduce an oil painting.”

“Wraps can also be put on windows and even buildings,” Holden explained regarding the versatility of the medium. His storefront was a testament to the latter – covered top to bottom in vinyl adhesive.

The vinyl adhesive is easily removed with a little heat and does not damage the car’s paint job.