Creating Mobile Mystique—and Impact
A stunning blue vehicle wrap turned print company drivers into brand ambassadors.
When customers and prospects see a hot blue and white van driving around the Chicago area, there’s no question whose it is: M13 a Schaumburg, Illinois-based printing company, is delivering another job.
Dan Banakis wanted a bold new look for his plain vanilla vans. The president of M13, had purchased two new vehicles to deliver print projects to his customers in and around Chicago. Each is on the road for about 100 miles per day—a perfect canvas for a mobile billboard. Banakis had purchased wraps for his previous vans. This time, he wanted something different.
He reached out to Gary C. Schellerer, chief operating officer and vice president of operations at ER2 Image Group in Bloomingdale, Illinois. He didn’t want to do the same type of wrap he had done before, where his call to action invited customers to purchase business cards from M13. He wanted to create something with mystique and impact.
Making the Right Match
But Banakis wasn’t just a business associate. M13’s co-owner and accounting director, Jessica Banakis, also happens to be one of Schellerer’s cousins—and Banakis’ wife. If the wraps didn’t look great or deliver results, that might make for some awkward family get-togethers.
“Vehicles are a big part of what we do, so we stay on top of the latest trends in vehicle wraps and vehicle branding,” Schellerer said. “I wanted to direct him to what I feel is the best, most appropriate, and most exciting product that is out there. That’s how we landed on the 1080 film from 3M.”
The first step was to perfect the color—a deep blue that represented M13’s brand. The 1080 film was available in a deep, iridescent blue and pearl white that made a striking combination. Schellerer says the striking colors and the ability to cut out intricate logos or typography and wrap various parts of the vehicle depends on the customer’s budget. The film is designed to peel off without harming the vehicle’s paint—perfect for when it’s time to sell one of the vans and upgrade.
Chatting Up Curious Prospects
Banakis didn’t want an obvious call to action on the van, instead opting for large graphic treatment of the M13 logo on each of the van’s sides, along with the website address. The back of the van gives a nod to what the company does—design and printing. A cheeky graphic on the top of the van—seldom seen except from Chicago’s venerable skyscrapers—proclaims, “Keep calm and print on.”
“I thought that if we just showed the website on a striking-looking van, people would want to know who we are and look up the website. They might not do it the first or second time they saw us, but after they saw the van a few times, they’d want to know who we were,” he explains.
While the new vehicles have only been on the road a few months, there has been one remarkable and unexpected benefit: They have turned his drivers into brand ambassadors, Banakis says. Curious people stop the drivers and ask about the van as well as the company and what it does. That’s more effective than the invitation to print business cards ever was, Banakis says.
“We really wanted something that was going to get people talking about us and get them to remember us. So far, the wraps are really doing that,” he says. “As we grow into new markets, we’ll definitely be putting more on the road.”
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