Advertising In Motion


Instead of driving past billboards, consumers will now be driving alongside these outdoor advertisements. Many companies are now using cars, trucks, and buses as an alternative to the traditional billboard. These vehicles are being wrapped in vinyl ads with companies’ logos and/or Web sites and being driven around major cities in order to increase awareness among consumers. In fact, most consumers are actually being paid to drive these ad-wrapped cars.

There are many reasons why ad-wrapped vehicles are an excellent idea. Cars wrapped in advertisements certainly stand out from the normal, everyday traffic. Ad-wrapped cars are one-of-a-kind and a good way to cut through clutter (Waisberg, 2002.) Because they stand out, these ad-wrapped cars not only catch attention, but are more likely to be remembered by those viewing it. There are also many more opportunities for consumers to see the messages as opposed to a stationary billboard. For example, during a day-long drive in the Chicago area, the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) based in New York, found that 40,000 people saw an ad-wrapped truck (Waisberg, 2002). Advertisements on buses, taxis and other metro transportation actually have one benefit many people overlook: the ads lower fares (Klara, 2009). Another benefit of vehicle wraps is that they are ideal for shorter campaigns (Nathan, 2007). This is due to the fact the wraps are easy to apply and remove.


As with any advertising, there are limitations to using ad-wraps on vehicles. The drivers can drive the car in an area that is more oriented to the target audience, but there is no guarantee that the target is being reached. Driving the ad-wrapped vehicle on a daily basis offers a lot of exposure to the ad, but the demographics of those viewing the advertisement can vary greatly. This means the ad is less specific and more generalized so it can apply to the variances in the target audience. Another limitation is that many people feel that ad-wrapped cars are an invasion of commercialism in an age where any space can be sold for advertising (Knowlton, 2000).

The cost of an ad-wrapped car is much cheaper than a traditional outdoor billboard. The cost depends on how big the wrap is—they are usually full- or half-car wraps. For a half-car wrap, the cost can range from $1200-$2000, excluding monthly fees of up to $1000 (Waisberg, 2002). A full-car wrap can cost up to $3000, with advertisers paying $2000 in addition to that (Lopez, 2000). In addition to the cost of manufacturing and applying these wraps to the cars and the monthly fees, advertisers also pay people to drive these wrapped cars. The amount that these drivers get paid depend on the size of the advertisement on their car and the company’s campaign. A simple Google search will result in many Web site links offering information on those interested in driving an ad-wrapped car. Some of these sites include:,,, and many more.


Reach and Frequency
In El Segundo, CA, trucks are being decorated with advertisements and turned into “mobile billboards.” It is estimated that each ad receives 60,000 viewers per day and the company doing the advertising is making 750 times as many visual impressions as a prime-time TV ad (Petty, 2005). Truck graphic advertising can increase sales up to 10 percent because the ads can reach a large audience. As opposed to different media, such as radio or television, consumers cannot simply change the station or channel to avoid the ad—it is merely the view out their car window. (Petty, 2005). Consumers are exposed to wrap advertising in places traditional advertising cannot be used (Pe, 2008).
Scheduling with this particular media depends on what the company is selling. It is not always where the car is driven or how far or often it is driven, but parking at a certain intersection is actually sometimes more important (Berlin, 2008).

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As previously mentioned, these ad-wrapped vehicles have a larger impact on the public because they stand out. The impact these ads have can also depend on the people who are driving the cars. Some people prefer to support the brand they are advertising, while others are only simply concerned with being paid to drive (Komarnicki, 2008). If the driver is a supporter of the brand they are advertising, the impact would be greater because the driver has personal experience with the product or service. On the other hand, if the driver of the vehicle has no attachment to the brand and is only in it for the money, then he or she will be less likely to push the brand.

Other Interesting Qualities
Many countries overseas are using vehicle wrap advertising on trains, subways, buses, and cars. Countries such as Australia, the Philippines, Canada, and Great Britain have been using wrap advertising. In the United States, however, wrap advertising on taxis in New York City and Miami is not allowed because the cabs must be yellow. In Boston, ad-wrapped taxis are actually banned (Miller, 2004).

Advertisers Successfully Using this Media
Some companies using this media are Verizon DSL, Qwest, Powerbar, and even Playboy (Nudd, 2003). Car wrap Web sites boast other clients such as IHOP, Nike, Entenmanns, Green Giant, and Geico. Many local businesses also wrap their vehicles with ads and company information.

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Additional Examples

New Form of Advertising - Truck Side Advertising

Mobile Billboards

Visual Adventures Inc.

In an age when almost every space available is sold for advertisements, vehicle wraps definitely break through the clutter. These vehicles are highly visible, can reach many consumers, and catch attention. The ad-wraps are also very cost-effective as opposed to traditional billboards or TV commercials. Vehicle wrap advertising is definitely an idea companies should look into in order to increase awareness for their product or service.

Klara, Robert. (2009, March 9). Special report: Cities for sale. Adweek
Knowlton, Brian. (2000, June 21). American topics. The New York Times, Retrieved from
Komarnicki, J. (2008, August 22). Car -sharing agency drives its message with ad-covered 'mobile billboards'. The Globe and Mail (Canada), pp. A8.
Lopez, S. (2000, July 17, Would you wrap your car in an ad for $400? Time Magazine, Retrieved from,9171,997458-1,00.html
Miller, M. (2004). Banned in Boston. Forbes, 174(9), 58.
Nathan, D. (2007). Sticky business. AdMedia, 22(11), 32.
Nudd, T. (2003). OK, That's a Double Wrap. Adweek Eastern Edition, 44(25), 38.
Pe, R. (2008). Philippines puts a wrap on mobile marketing. Advertising Age, 79(40), 17.
Petty, G. (2005). Rolling billboards. Fleet Owner, 100(7), 24.
Waisberg, D. (2002). Cruising for clients. Profit, 21(8), 9. Retrieved from

External Links
Ad-Wraps Driver Sign-Up
My Free Car Driver Sign-Up