The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Companies Pay Motorists to Wrap Their Cars in Ads

September 11, 2007

NEW YORK – Some companies pay millions to have their logos on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race car, but others prefer to pay Brian Katz $500 or more a month for space on his Ford Expedition, according to the International Herald Tribune. Katz, 32, of New York, is one of the tens of thousands of motorists who have signed up to have their cars and trucks wrapped in advertisements in exchange for a stipend of up to $800 a month.

Katz was matched with his advertisers by FreeCar Media, an advertising agency in Los Angeles that claims to have a database of more than 1 million car owners who say they are open to wrapping their cars in ads for a fee. The sponsor also pays as much as $5,000 a car for the wrap job.

Generally, a car can qualify if it has enough surface area for a sizable ad and is no more than five years old.

These offers are becoming so popular that car owners have been willing to limit where they shop and abide by a code of conduct while they are behind the wheel.

The idea is not limited to the United States. In Germany and Austria, for example, a company called LaudaMotion, set up by the former Formula One race car driver Niki Lauda, operates with a similar business model. Customers are provided with “smart” cars or other small vehicles on a rental basis, for prices of as little as €1, or $1.37, a day if they agree to drive a vehicle decked out with advertising. LaudaMotion said advertisers have included McDonald’s and Visa.

Bayer HealthCare has made about 1,000 cars available to pharmacists in Germany at favorable leasing rates if they agree to display ads for Bayer aspirin on them, the International Herald Tribune reported.

3M, which remains the largest producer of the material, uses an adhesive similar to the one on its Post-It notes, enabling installers to place vinyl strips on a vehicle that do not stick until pressure is applied. The material is popular for wrapping race cars, helicopters, planes, boats, and even buildings. And the wrap actually preserves a vehicle’s paint job.

ARD Ventures, a venture capital firm, has studied the phenomenon of wrapped cars and estimates that a single vehicle’s advertising message is viewed by motorists and pedestrians as many as 70,000 times a day, the report said.

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