Is There Any Excuse to Waste Fleet Advertising Space?

The other day, I took a short 10-minute break away from my computer, and walked around. Our building has a busy four-lane business district alongside it, and while standing in front of our building, I realized something. At least one half of the 53’ semi-trailers that went by our office were blank, or had identification so small I couldn’t see it from 25 yards away. Was this true — only half? I began counting… one out of four with graphics, two out of seven, four out of ten…

I stepped inside the building and asked our receptionist if I was crazy, or if she’d noticed the same. She saw ten out of twenty with graphics. OK, this may not be very scientific, but I counted again, and guess what? It seems to stay around 50%. One half of the advertising space available on semi-trailers is not being used. It’s like producing every other billboard in America with a blank white space — 53 feet of rolling billboards, where thousands of impressions are delivered every day.

Thousands of Impressions Lost — But Why?

Short-term leases — The Internal Revenue Service considers a lease of less than one year to be short-term. Semi-trailers may be leased for varying terms, some of which, may not be cost-effective for the lessee to invest in vehicle graphics, especially complete trailer wraps. However, depending on the term of the lease, it may be affordable and make more sense to use a decal, such as a company logo.

Not thinking like a marketer — Most marketers look at the space on a trailer as a place to advertise, but many in the trucking industry don’t visualize this. As we’ve said before, the side of a truck isn’t just a place for identification.

Hiding what you have — Not long ago, I talked with a liquor distributor who left his trucks blank. He didn’t want people to know what he was carrying. He was concerned about theft. Theft is real, but the possibility of vehicle hijacking should be weighed against the advantages of advertising. For example, it may not be wise to identify a jewelry store vehicle that transports jewelry.

The “We’re too small” syndrome — The majority of trucking companies in North America are small. According to “Estimates of 1.2 million companies in the U.S. Of that figure 97% operate 20 or fewer while 90% operate 6 or fewer trucks.” But being small doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t afford to advertise who you are and what you do. Decals can be a cost-effective alternative to wrapping a complete semi-trailer.

Not knowing where to start — Most logistics and transportation companies aren’t in the fleet graphics business, and vehicle wraps are not their specialty. Start by finding a company who’s been in the business of providing tractor-trailer graphics for 10 years or more, and offers design, production, and certified installation. There are many reputable companies that fit this description.

There may be other reasons not to advertise on your truck and trailer. If you have another reason, please share it with us. If you’re not using this space to its best advantage, is it time to consider doing something about it? Have I taken away your excuses?

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