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Roadshows that turn heads with playful graphics

As Production Manager at EMS, Will Woolner’s remit is to manage how brands are translated through their live experiences. Here he looks at the exterior of roadshow trucks and how businesses are turning heads with playful graphics. 

Jaw-dropping, traffic-stopping roadshow trucks not only make headlines and drive social sharing, but the element of surprise and curiosity that secures that second glance is also securing high returns on investment.

Tough economic times may have tightened marketing budgets, but they haven’t lessened a brand’s appetite to create an impact. In fact, we have found increasing demand from businesses to make bigger and bolder statements.

As a result, we have changed our perspective too, in terms of how we approach vehicle branding. There is much more pressure to deliver on smaller budgets and to find a solution that doesn’t lose any of the impact. We have become much braver in our recommendations and work much more creatively to deliver a result that makes spend go that little bit further while ensuring stand-out and audience engagement.

Live activity is not just about what happens inside a truck, it’s about the full ‘360 degree’ experience. The exterior plays a vital role in drawing people to jump on board. It also acts as a mobile billboard as a vehicle clocks thousands of miles touring between events. It’s all about creating and maximising opportunities to see.

Samsung YWOG roadshow

The design and graphical application of a brand on a roadshow truck is no longer just about following guidelines to ensure a logo is placed in the approved manner. It’s about engagement, and, for us, about balancing budget with how far a client is prepared to go in the creatively.  It’s about pushing boundaries. And there are some great examples out there.

To support the first inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Austria, we worked with Samsung on its mobile ’Smart Cube’ exhibition. Inside visitors answered questions by throwing snowballs at the ‘Interactive Quiz Wall’, and the fun and interactivity continued outside when the sun went down with the side of the ‘Smart Cube’ becoming a enormous screen.  Using motion sensors, the screen became transparent in the shape of passers-by, letting you look inside the Cube from the outside.

20th Century Fox roadshow graphics

We worked with 20th Century Fox on a roadshow truck that featured a giant Avatar character, which ‘popped-out’ at passers-by. The art of using 3D has since come on leaps and bounds and it’s now not just a technique reserved for the film industry, but used widely across roadshow truck exteriors.  Here are some examples to make you smile.

Whatever creative route a brand takes, it’s vital that the end result gets the point across and incites a reaction in just one or two seconds.

Graphics that give the illusion of a car driving past the truck is a great example of this. Used by a number of brands from banking group NLB to couriers’ DHL, you can’t help but take a second glance just to check what you have actually seen. 

It’s all about getting people thinking, to engage them with your experience, in just a few seconds. Here are some considerations for getting it right: 

  • Clearly define who your campaign is aimed at as this will be the driving force behind the creative solution, which must target and work for those who you want to get involved.
  • Don’t forget that your event has wheels – as well as engaging your target audience there is also an opportunity for a much broader spectrum of people to engage with your message when in transit.
  • Your roadshow will look very different when it is displayed for an event than when it is folded away and out on the road, so don’t forget to consider the end results in both environments.
  • For tours that cross multiple international markets the graphical message must take cultural differences into account.
  • If incorporating social media into your artwork ensure it works for your target audience. For example, using Facebook as a call-to-action on a truck in the UK is a great idea to extend interaction beyond event days, but use in Saudi Arabia is not so widespread and therefore will potentially alienate a chunk of your audience.
  • Regional dialect and different languages also need to be taken into account if crossing borders or countries. Ensure external graphics can be changed easily when out on the road to avoid any embarrassment.

Ten years ago it may have been acceptable to simply place a logo on the side of a roadshow truck, but more exciting brands have since come to market and established businesses have succeeded by moving with the times.  Both B2C and B2B brands like Samsung and HP are pushing boundaries with what they want to achieve. To stand head and shoulders above the rest don’t be afraid to be bold and creative with what you want your brand to say.

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