Truck Wraps: Make them Count
When viewing most HVAC truck wraps on the road today, you’d think the concept of designing a simple, easy-to-read message was difficult to understand for most companies designing HVAC truck wraps. This is unfortunate, as HVAC truck wraps are not cheap, and when done correctly, can generate substantial leads for service businesses, especially heating and air contractors. When done incorrectly, they represent a missed opportunity, wasted cash and a poor ROI.
Shown: All American Plumbing, Heating & Air, Los Banos, CA
Rule #1: Start With a Great Brand
So many HVAC truck wraps fail from a marketing perspective because the company has a poor brand identity and logo. The brand should always be the primary message for a vehicle wrap, unless you have national brand recognition. By starting with a poor brand means you’ve failed before you’ve begun: by wasting money on a wrap and missing a huge marketing opportunity. Carefully examine your current brand and ask yourself if it represents who you are as a company, and more importantly, the perception it garners. If it’s dated, illegible from a distance, uses clip art, or is just simply not memorable or unique, it may be time for change. Here’s where you want to stand out, not fit in like every other HVAC contractor with snowflakes and flames in their logos.
Shown: Clear the Air, Friendswood, TX
Rule #2: Don't Use Photos
If you’re using photos on your HVAC truck wrap, you’re probably doing yourself, and your brand a disservice. There are few effective wraps that use photos, and I’d argue that any wrap that uses a photo could have been more effectively done without one provided the company had a good brand (see Rule #1). A photo is not a brand identity; it doesn’t connect me with the business name. Maybe it connects me with what the company does, but if it doesn’t connect me with who the company is – what good is it? Most wraps that use photos come at the expense of reinforcing the brand.
Shown: Blanton's Heating & Air, Fayetteville, NC
Rule #3: Limit Your Ad Copy/No Bullets
I know your HVAC truck looks like a big canvas. That doesn’t mean we need to fill it with a grocery list of every HVAC service under the sun. There’s only 3 or 4 things a good wrap needs:
• strong brand implementation
• perhaps tagline messaging
• web address
• maybe a phone number.
Bullet lists, which look more like shopping lists, have no place on a vehicle. This isn’t the yellow pages. Would you rather list 10 things and have none remembered, or convey one to two memorable takeaways? If this truck were a billboard, how much copy would be on it? Billboards have the exact same challenges as vehicle advertising. If you prioritize your copy, it will be more effective. In general, the hierarchy should always be: BRAND, TAGLINE, WEB and/or PHONE NUMBER.
Shown: Williams Mechanical, Rio Rancho, NM
Rule #4: Design to Stand Out, Not Fit In
This isn’t the part where many might say diamond plate, carbon fiber, or tribal flames will make your HVAC truck wrap stand out. Or, the picture of the owner and his family flanking a condensing unit. Quite the contrary.
By eliminating all those fills, noisy backgrounds, photos, bevels, and glows, you’ll be well on your way to designing a wrap which actually stands out.
The wrap market is littered with visual noise. When we see something with impact — something that we can actually read and remember — it can’t help but stand out among the visual clutter. Start with the basics and if you keep needing to add things to the design to make it "better", it’s probably not good to begin with.
Shown: Woodward Heating, Salem, OR
Rule #5: Simple and Obvious is Good
If the viewer needs to work too hard to figure out the primary brand messaging, it’s an opportunity lost. The medium isn’t the same as print design, where the viewer can stop, absorb the advertising and try and understand the message. Consider that one, primary takeaway you’re hoping to leave with the viewer. What is it? And does the wrap effectively communicate it? Is it lost in the imagery? Distance legibility is, of course, a primary concern.
You have very limited time to capture the viewer’s attention and have your brand and message be understood and remembered.
Shown: D and T Heating & Cooling, New Castle, DE. The truck shows a welcome variation on the "penguin sitting on ice cube" image, to great effect.