So if that is the impact a bit of graffiti can have, imagine the potential if the van says something about your business.
Effective signwriting is a valuable investment for a company, as it turns vans into mobile billboards that carry the firm’s message far and wide. And there is no telling whether the next person looking at your van will be your next big customer. Branding is essential – industry experts suggest that writing on the side of vans is worth hundreds of pounds a month in advertising.
And for city-based fleets, each van could achieve 3,000-3,500 ‘impressions’ on pedestrians and other road users every hour.
Clearly if the van is sitting in a parking space all day doing nothing, the amount spent on decals needs to be put in perspective.
But effective images aren’t that expensive. The days of actually painting vans are long gone and now many van fleets prefer a vinyl application. It’s cost-effective at about £100 to £200 per vehicle. However, this is largely limited to lettering and simple shapes in single colours. Vehicle wrapping is the next step up, where parts of the van are literally encased in film. It can be pricey, with a full vehicle wrap costing up to £2,000, but when compared to traditional advertising, it’s a good investment.
Justin Pearce, national accounts manager for Signs Express, said: ‘Wrapping can also play a part in protecting the vehicle from chips and scratches, which helps at resale time.
‘A similar investment might get you a nice advert in the local paper, but that only lasts for the day. Instead, you can become a mobile advert that is seen every day of the week.’
One of the pioneers of full vehicle wrapping in the UK has been Mike Phillips, principal of Vehicle Wrapping Services. He first became interested in the process as an alternative to the costly process of signwriting taxis in full advertising livery. He explained: ‘My background is in selling media space on taxis and the old-fashioned process of painting them.
‘We became aware in the late 1990s that wrapping film existed that was suitable for vehicle applications. After experimenting, we came up with a process that was even more flexible than signwriting, was faster, much cheaper and could be removed when that was needed. One of the reasons we now so strongly target the commercial vehicle market is that the vehicles adapt very well to this purpose. If you look at a taxi, it has a relatively small amount of space that you can use but a panel van has large, blank spaces that can be used for very colourful, creative designs. It is ideal for wrapping.’
He added: ‘It has taken a long time for it to catch on and I always said it would be 10 years before it was fully accepted. That was about five years ago.’
An increasing number of fleets are recognising the benefits of investing in good signage both for building their brands and potentially attracting new customers.