— In 2003, Ken Black and L.V. Semona formed Advertising Vehicles, a company that sells colorful vinyl “wraps” that turn any company’s fleet of cars, trucks, and vans into mobile billboards, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer
newspaper.“Radio has become fragmented in its demographics, and now you have satellite radio competing with it,” Semona said. “Businesses just needed a better way to reach the masses.”This year, Advertising Vehicles is on target to surpass $2 million in sales, with a typical auto wrap costing about $2,500 per vehicle. They have clients locally in Ohio, and as far away as Florida and California, and it soon plans to consolidate its sales office in Sharonville, Ohio, and its fabrication plant in Evendale, Ohio, into a new space in Blue Ash, Ohio.“The timing has been perfect for us,” said Black, who worked with Semona at radio giant Clear Channel Communications in Cincinnati. “The vinyl technology has come around that we can do large-print wraps.”“Car wraps” was a business the two friends had been looking into for some time. They studied the trend in California, where often companies paid consumers to wrap their cars in their brand to gain exposure. Semona said that with more people commuting and radio listenership falling, it made perfect sense to target those people in cars by jazzing up commercial vehicles that also were on the road a lot.Arbitron, a national firm that produces ratings for television and radio stations, conducted a study of commuter traffic in 2001 and determined that people in cars were a tremendous option for advertisers, and not just with static billboards.“One of the biggest findings of that study was that a typical commercial vehicle on the road would sometimes get as many as 30,000 impressions daily,” Semona said. “Those were staggering numbers, and our customers liked them.”A benefit of the wraps versus paint is that the wraps can be removed without harming the vehicle’s paint. The wraps usually last five to seven years, but Black said most companies will want to change them after three years.“I did my car in it just to show my customers how confident I was that it wouldn’t hurt my paint,” Black told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“It’s a lot better than painting your logo on a truck and then trying to sell it years later.”