Marketing with vehicle wraps and car graphics

Marketing with vehicle wraps and car graphics: hidden cost benefits?

You naturally view your company cars and vans as machines; tools to help you run the business. This is accurate, but it misses the whole picture. Whereas a piece of equipment such as a drill or a hammer is designed to carry out a couple of functions at most, your vehicle exists on a different plane. It fulfils multiple tasks, from holding the rest of your equipment overnight, to enabling you to travel from place to place to be able to work in the first place.

There is another function that your company van or fleet can fulfil: that of advertising. Vehicle branding has been used, in one form or another, since the days of horse-drawn carts, when signwriting was a highly skilled job that involved literally writing with paint on the side of the vehicle. These signs were basic in every respect, from the materials used, to the kinds of designs that were possible. Most vehicle signs simply featured the trading name of the business and perhaps a slogan.

These limitations have been swept away by advances in technology, and the possibilities and effectiveness of vehicle branding have increased dramatically as a result. One of the most exciting and still not particularly widely adopted methods of vehicle branding is that of vehicle wraps. This technique involves designing the graphics on a computer and printing it directly onto a sheet of vinyl, which is then ‘wrapped’, or stretched, over the vehicle, possibly covering the whole van or just the bonnet or rear doors.

This creates the possibility of using photographs or very detailed, engaging computer graphics for your sign, where previously your design would have been limited by the physical skill of an artist with an airbrush or paintbrush. This, in turn, means that the role of the company vehicle as a mode of transport has also been redefined to include its potential as a mobile advertisement, alongside the van’s more traditional roles.

Vehicle wraps and car graphics present an exceptional mode of advertising with very few negatives. And your business may be overlooking an outstanding advertising opportunity if you view your company fleet as purely means of transport. Out of the many benefits, cost is likely to be the make-or-break issue for most business owners, so we’ve broken down the costs below and compared them with other modes of advertising.

Cost-benefit analysis

The 21st Century businessperson has a wealth of marketing tools at their disposal. The most commonly used marketing channels tend to be the traditional ones, such as radio, billboards and direct mailing, alongside print media, such as newspapers and magazines. Pay-per-click advertising and a social media presence are also growing in popularity, but may be of limited use for a small business dependent on local custom.

The relative price of a form of advertising is measured by the cost per 100 views. Direct mailing is one of the most expensive forms of marketing, coming in at £1.95 per 100 views. Radio adverts aren’t significantly cheaper at around £1.20 per 100 views. Vinyl wraps and car graphics, by contrast, can cost as little as £0.04 per 100 views.

Hidden benefits

The cost benefit is greatly magnified when we consider some of the corollary effects of the use of vinyl wraps as a marketing tool. The cost of a car graphics solution is a one-off sum, as opposed to the repeat hire payments required to make a print or radio campaign effective. High quality vinyl, by contrast to the short-lived effects of a radio slot, can last for up to five years and your van will be viewed by up to 3,000 people a day if you drive in a city, making for an incredibly high reach.

If you drive around the same area during your working day, you can effortlessly achieve a saturation effect and create a high level of brand recognition, which is vital for a local business in a competitive environment. People tend to choose to buy from companies that they have heard of over unknown entities. Likewise, if you travel all over the country, an advertising wrap helps you to engage a vastly broader selection of people than you would ever be able to reach with conventional marketing modes.

These advantages constitute hidden cost benefits. Vinyl wraps do involve a significant one-off outlay, but this is an investment which is offset and outweighed by the extra earnings and business that it generates.

Other hidden financial benefits are only realised later on in the life of the vinyl wrap. Other methods of applying graphics to cars inevitably involve spraying paint onto the surface of the vehicle. When you later come to resell your company fleet to make way for newer models, if your graphics are painted on you will have to pay for an expensive respray before any resale can take place. With vinyl, however, the wrap is simply peeled away in a far easier and less costly process of removal.

The upshot of this is that your vehicle’s resale value is protected by the wrap. Modern vinyl wrap technology includes the use of an over-laminating protective layer to safeguard your graphics. This layer also protects the underlying paintwork of your vehicle from scratches, abrasions and stone chips. These are highly important considerations with positive financial implications should you choose to resell your vehicle at a later date.


Any undertaking of a marketing campaign is an investment which will hopefully produce a high enough return to justify the initial expense. With the use of vinyl wraps for car graphics, this is far easier to achieve compared with traditional advertising methods.

At The Sussex Sign Company, we have over two decades of experience in the business; expertise that we can put to use by assisting you in making the right choices in vehicle signage solutions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like any further information, on 01273 417057.