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July 2005

Rolling Billboard

Each month NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty writes a column in Fleet Owner magazine that focuses on the individuals, companies, best practices, and resources that make private trucking the force that it is in the American economy. Reaching more than 100,000 subscribers, three-quarters of whom are private fleet professionals, this column provides an excellent forum to communicate the value of the private fleet. Click here to view the archive.

Gary Petty | | Private Fleet Editor for FleetOwner Magazine
Gary Petty has more than 30 years of experience as CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. He has been the president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council since 2001.

Rolling Billboards

At its Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, NPTC announced that developments were under way for a new membership benefit, the Fleet Justification Program. When completed later this year, the program will help private fleets quantify and qualify their value against standards and best practices widely used in the industry.

One of the most visible examples of this justification is vehicle advertising, or “rolling billboards.” Utilizing private fleet vehicles for advertising has many benefits, most notably promoting the company’s brand products at lower overall costs compared to traditional modes of advertising.

Reaching customers through traditional advertising faces ever-tougher challenges. In television, for decades the premier venue for reaching mass audiences, viewers of all ages have declined dramatically. Stationary billboards are fewer and in some places almost non-existent. Rolling billboards, however, are growing – and reaching – far wider audiences.

Millions of commuters are captives in their cars each day. They can change the radio station, but they can’t change their view out the window. According to proprietary, copyrighted research by EPIC Media Group, El Segundo, CA, it’s estimated that 60,000 people a day see a typical truck ad. The average number of monthly impressions made by one truck or trailer is worth about $4,000 a month, according to EPIC Media’s research. For a 100-vehicle fleet, this means $4,800,000 of marketing and advertising value each year.

For many private fleets, this is one of the most effective, low cost means of sustaining powerful daily communication with present and prospective customers. EPIC Media says that the cost of truck space media, including the ad, is only 4¢ per 1,000 viewers — all of whom who are there to receive the message. In contrast, television media space during primetime hours can cost as much as $29.95 per 1,000 viewers — and many of them aren’t even “there.”

A company makes 750 times as many visual impressions on viewers using fleet advertising as they can with prime-time TV ads, EPIC Media points out. The “free” media space on corporate truck fleets can provide enormous cost savings in advertising dollars compared to other venues.

Based on anecdotal reports from private fleet operators, truck graphic advertising can substantially increase company sales, sometimes by as much as 10%. According the EPIC Media, one reason may be that this type of advertising reaches all generations of viewers. In the highly prized 19 to 49-year old segment, there are actually three generations — Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Echo Boomers. TV ads can’t speak to all three generations at once since they typically watch different programs. But fleet advertising can because they ride in the same traffic and see the same truck ads.

Larger-than-life images on truck sides are inescapable. They provide a constant reminder of the brand and excite the eye as they move. The fact that they’re rolling along makes them even more real. They can influence buying decisions before customers reach the store.

No wonder experts call truck fleet advertising the most powerful branding medium on earth. This itself makes a “case closed” statement for private fleet justification.

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