Insights and inputs from our team and around the web.
- Written by Kris Hunt
Sports bars and burger joints will always be jam-packed on Super Bowl Sunday, but according to a recent survey by The Neilson Company, 9 out of 10 households will be staying home for this year’s big game. "'Staying in is the new 'night out' and we see this trend continue to play out with the Super Bowl,' said Nick Lake, vice president, group client director, Beverage Alcohol at Nielsen. 'Consumers continue to rein in spending and while this 'new normal' provides challenges for restaurant and bar owners, it presents opportunities for consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers and manufacturers.'" Super Bowl season has traditionally been a busy time here at Thomas as well — printing window clings, building banners and freestanding cutouts for restaurants vying to become the local Super Bowl headquarters. But with consumers tightening their belts, we thought we’d offer few suggestions to help you take advantage of what may become the new normal.
1. Branded Take Home Snack Packages
If people aren’t going to come to you, you can just go to them. Consumers want convenience just as much as value. So put together a unique offering of your top appetizers and drinks packaged in an interesting way. Make special boxes and to-go cups and market this package deal as a tailgate party for the living room. Put some flyers in your menus and position your restaurant to be the one-stop shop for any watch party snacks.
2. Throw a Bigger, Better Party
The only thing better than a living room watch party is a blown out, weekend long football festival. Go big or they’ll go home. Live outdoor music, eating contests with a decent reward, flag football tournaments – anything to get people excited and talking. This could even be a great way to generate free publicity. Local TV news, radio stations and newspapers love to cover interesting events. It could easily become something people look forward to year after year.
3. Push Catering
Everybody loves to attend a great party, but it’s usually a huge pain to throw one. If you can take care of as many annoying details as possible, you’re restaurant will quickly become the go to place for party throwers all over. Even if catering isn’t normally something you offer, rent a few chaffing dishes and truck or two – it will be worth the effort. They key will be informing your customers beforehand so they have a chance to make all their plans.
4. Discounts on Appetizers and Drinks
Besides huge amazing prizes (see #5), nothing brings in a crowd better than a really good deal. Offer cheap beer or half-price appetizers during the game or for anyone who has a table of more than a certain number of people. Another favorite is to give free food based on the game itself. Customers will love the risky nature of it (Vegas makes a killing off this) and they will show up just to see what happens. A free pizza for every touchdown or a round of drinks for an interception. Again, your customers have to know about it before but if you make the deal sweet enough they’ll definitely show up.
5. Give Away Something Expensive
The only thing better than getting something for free is getting something really awesome for free. If you offer something that people definitely want, you’ll have watch out for a maximum occupancy violation. The trick here is to partner with the provider of the item to be given away. If it’s a massive flat screen, make a deal with a local electronics company and give them some free menu advertising. If it’s a free car, offer to cater the next few liquidation sales at the car lot. But the most important thing is to make it something amazing. A free dinner isn’t going to cut it; you’re going to have to come up with something people will go crazy for.
- Written by Kris Hunt
7. Do a Stunt Just to Get Attention
The above pictures of an art student and her graduation project got international press. The car was donated to her by a local junk yard and their name on the windshield launched them into world-wide notoriety, not to mention a huge spike in local business and sight-seer traffic. It might as well have been for a vehicle wrap installer. The hard part is coming up with an idea that will get noticed, but don't try to make it happen all by yourself. Always be ready to jump on a good idea when it comes to you. This car was already junk and not a huge loss for the junk yard, but a short-sighted owner might have only seen the profit they were losing in parts and scrap sales. Don't be guided by fear - build funding for some small, low-risk stunts into your budget and listen to people who ask for help with a project (especially hippie-looking art students).
8. Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously
Professionalism and understated elegance are essential if you're a funeral home or law firm. But a little silliness goes a long way, especially in a saturated or highly competitive industry where it's difficult to stand out. Great advertising gets maximum bang for every buck and a magnet with your logo/phone/website could be a total waste of time and resources. Take advantage of vehicle wrap technology and do something a little wacky.
9. Execution Can Make or Break Your Campaign
This vehicle wrap for a body shop was a very risky move that easily could've backfired. Instead, it looks impossibly perfect (and in fact won several industry awards). Potential customers will unconsciously equate the quality of your advertising with the quality of your service. If you can impress their socks off with a well-carried out vehicle wrap, they'll expect the same when they call you. And they will call. The inverse is also true — if the Carriage Shoppe had stuck one of those half-baseball-stuck-in-the-window things or some fake gun shot holes on their PT Cruiser, they could have seriously hurt their business. An obviously lazy ad campaign, especially one with as much exposure as vehicle wrapping, communicates that your service will be lazy as well.
10. Tap Into Your History
Take a cue from all the throw-back jerseys in professional sports. These are not just for fun — there's real strategy behind it. People need to feel like they're a part of a bigger story, we all want to be involved in history and join with something that started long before us and will continue long after us. Maybe it's some quest for immortality, maybe it's to help us know who we are and where we're from. Whatever the reason, it makes for great marketing. If you can convince a potential customer that your brand has a story or is a part of history in some way, capitalize on that. Did your great grandfather do the same thing you're doing now? Use his original logo on your trucks. Do you make your product the same way they did a hundred years ago? Highlight that connection to the past. Anything you can do to help your customers connect to a tradition and a legacy will get them emotionally involved in your product and turn them into evangelists for your brand. Check out our deals on vehicle wrap printing.
- Written by Elizabeth Woods
Trade show display graphics are an excellent way to help you stand out in a crowd and appeal to an audience of people that are inherently interested in what you do. First impressions are lasting impressions, and your display booth can attract new potential customers, based simply on eye-catching trade show display graphics. Thomas Reprographics can create the type of look you need to stand out in a crowd.
In a packed room full of messages that are blaring at customers, you need to make sure your exhibition booth has trade show display graphics that will draw customers your way. Exhibit halls have flashing lights, loud music, competing messages and are basically a series of distractions competing for attention. When your booth only has a few seconds to create an impression that will trigger a decision, your graphics had better be dazzling.
Thomas Reprographics has a long history of creating trade show display graphics that create the right impression and stand out from the crowd of cluttered messages. Simple, large, stunning and bright messages are what will draw people in. Thomas Reprographics carries several lines of pop-up display booths, tabletop booths, and backlight boxes to show off your trade show graphics. We utilize the latest in large format printers, including inkjets that print on waterproof fabric and allow you to complete your trade show presentation with custom table drapes and director's chairs—the types of things that impress customers and help your message come through.
Because your time is valuable and is better spent selling your message to customers than worrying about setting up a display, Thomas Reprographics specializes in trade show display graphics setups that are quick and easy to set up and take down. For example, our 10-foot pop up display is extremely lightweight, but also extremely strong. We offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, which expands to a full-sized exhibit in less than 15 minutes.
For a completely customized, rigid look, Thomas Reprographics has fabric or graphic panels attached with magnetic strips that deliver a seamless, professional appearance. Sections of the pop-up can be backlit for eye-catching, dynamic impact. When it comes to trade show display graphics and to your exhibit space, stunning colors and design must be complimented by flexibility, portability and visibility. For everything you need to make sure your trade show display graphics look their absolute best, Thomas Reprographics has the solution. Click here to learn more about trade show graphics from Thomas Reprographics. Call 1-877-312-7347 to speak with a Thomas Reprographics Print Expert to learn more.
- Written by Kris Hunt
Did you miss Part I? See it here!
4. Take Advantage of Uniquely Functional Vehicles
The tanker in the picture doesn't quite nail it, but I love the idea that this truck could be full of Pepsi on it's way to Circle K. But your product doesn't have to be a liquid to advertise on a tanker truck. How about a truck full of elbow grease so you can work harder for your customers? Or a delivery of glue because you'll stick it out till the end. Or an entire tanker of whoop-ass because a single can just isn't enough. Doing print ad on the side of a bus is fine, but isn't going to make you rich. Different is good - a dump truck wrapped to be a delivery of money to your investors, a garbage truck full of good ideas that weren't good enough for you, a cement truck with a logo that's both upside down and right side up, just the fact that you thought it through enough to do both will impress potential customers and get you some attention. Check out some of our vehicle wrap deals.
5. Do Something Interesting with Fleet Vehicles
Not every company has a fleet of trucks or vans to work with, but if you do, consider it a fleet of free advertising. That many vehicles is a huge investment, so make it work hard for you. Wrap those suckers in something different every month or quarter or year. Try as many ideas as you can afford and see what works. Do something unique to your industry and make is very visual. If you install cable, make it a giant television set. If you are a landscaping company, make it look like a riding lawn mower. The key is variety and accountability. Keep track of what works. And above all, don't be annoying. Loud colors, a huge logo, phone numbers, websites - none of this matters as much as getting and keeping someone's attention.
6. Think Outside of Mobile Ads
Vehicle wraps are great, but any large format printer/installer worth their salt can wrap just about anything. A waterfall of M&M's cascading down a flight of stairs is fantastic concept and execution. This ad takes advantage of both the unique shape of the product and a unique location. Consider an average day in the life of your target customer. Spend some time where they spend time and look for a place or object to wrap that will highlight an aspect of your product. If you sell office furniture, make all the seats in the mall food court look like your desk chairs. If you make paint, put a huge, fake spill on a sidewalk. If you own a coffee shop, make the outdoor trash cans look like coffee cups. Creativity makes money.
- Written by Kris Hunt
Have you ever seen a police car or emergency vehicle that looked outdated or not well maintained? Police cars and emergency vehicles need to stand out in a crowd for may reasons, but looking like an old school relic isn’t one of them.
When it’s time for your fleet to bring on an updated, Thomas Reprographics specializes in police car and emergency vehicle graphics that send the right message. The design aesthetics and graphics on police cars, fire trucks and all other types of emergency vehicles have one sole primary purpose – to clearly communicate that this is a civil service vehicle that is available to offer aid in the event of an emergency or crisis. Once that has been clearly communicated, the graphics should convey a sense of confidence and professionalism with graphics and logos that are progressive and show a sense of civic pride.
Thomas Reprographics has all the tools needed to make both of these messages come through loud and clear. Police car and emergency vehicle graphics from Thomas Reprographics are durable and designed to maintain a fantastic look over a long period of time. Thomas Reprographics also has professional installation partners across the country that take pride in their work and will ensure your graphics are installed on each vehicle exactly to specifications. As you know, it’s imperative that all of your emergency vehicles are immediately and easily distinguishable as they approach cars and pedestrians at high rates of speed. Police car and emergency vehicle graphics that stand out for the right reasons create a positive impression for people. Make sure your fleet of police cars and emergency.
- Written by Kris Hunt
1. Good Design Is Key
This ad for Jack Daniels on a London cab be easily seen from skyscraper windows and it looks classy and interesting from the street. A great combination of good design and creative positioning.
Another example from the UK, this wrap for a printing company is loud enough to get a lot of attention but understated and elegant enough to convert viewers into customers. This design is stark contrast to the huge-text, in-your-face, explosion-and-fire designs of most commercial wraps on the road. No one has ever been annoyed into becoming a customer. Good design in vehicle wraps is surprisingly hard to find. A clever, well-designed vehicle wrap is an easy and immediate way to set your ad campaign miles ahead of everything else out there. Click here to see our current specials on vehicle wraps.
2. Be Entertaining
All advertising must be either entertaining or informative. Anything else will be immediately forgotten at best, and at worse will hurt your brand. With mobile and outdoor media like vehicle wraps, there's usually not enough time to inform, so you have to entertain. If you can get drivers laughing and pointing, they'll talk about it for days and become evangelists for your brand as well as new customers. An easy way to be entertaining is to put advertising unexpected places. In this economy, almost everyone is ready to cut a deal. If you have an idea to put an ad in an unusual spot, don't be afraid to so some digging and find someone who can say yes. You may even end up saving a lot of money. Here are a few examples:
3. Think Outside of Cars and Buses
Everyone's seen mobile ads on the side of a bus, but trains are a relatively untapped medium for ad placement. They also offer some interesting creative opportunities that buses so not offer. Imagine a giant snake ad for the local zoo or the entire army of Verizon's support engineers as a part of their "we never stop working for you" campaign.
Trains give you the freedom to make your advertising more emotive and conceptual. Good train ad design take advantage of odd shape and expansive space. You've also got a captive audience, so use the interior as well. Do something that makes passengers get out their phones and Google your company on their way to work.
- Written by Kris Hunt
Whether you’re hosting an event and need to direct the flow of traffic or attending an event and need to get some attention, Thomas Reprographics can help. We can make high-quality banners in pretty much any shape and size to fit whatever needs you may have — all the way up to 12 feet wide. But you can go even wider by stringing several together into a huge panoramic image. Our retractable stands make for easy transportation, plus they come with carrying cases. You can choose from single- or double-sided stands for maximum exposure. We also work with a number of excellent vendors to provide impressive expo booths. We can print any graphic on waterproof fabric and set you up with a stunning display booth. For more information on all the amazing things we can do to get you attention, give us a call at (877) 312-7347, or learn more about our special offers on trade show graphics available exclusively through our blog by clicking here.
- Written by Kris Hunt
You’ve finished your design and you’re ready to send it off to the printers. You triumphantly click “file” and “save as” but momentarily falter as you scan down the endless list of three letter suffixes. Which one should go after the dot at the end of your document title? You created your amazing document in Word 2007, but your work computers are still using Word 2003, and every time you try to send that to someone they email you back saying they can’t see it. So maybe you should save it as '03 compatible, but what if the printer uses a Mac? So maybe you should export it as a PDF, but every time you do that it ends up looking blurry plus it takes forever to open.
This is a very common conundrum that Thomas Reprographics has dealt with on countless occasions. Fortunately, there is an easy solution. If your document is smaller than 11" x 17", you can save it as PostScript (.ps) file, and if it’s bigger than that, you can save it as an Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) file. The beauty of these formats are that they include all the data, including fonts, graphics, layout, images, etc., into a single file that can be translated by a printer. If a document is not saved in one of these universal formats, the printer you send it to must have the exact same program with the correct version that was used to create it. Most people have Microsoft Word, but not everyone has the most recent version. In fact, even different settings can cause a layout to get jumbled. There are even more issues if your document was created in a more professional design program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Some designs can have hundreds of layers and elements working together within one document that can only be decoded by Photoshop or Illustrator.
Saving and sending your creations in a standard .ps or .eps format will guarantee that your design will be printed looking exactly the way you made it. For more information or help with saving and printing as a PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript file, check out the following resources:
- From Thomas: Digital Tips
- From Adobe: PostScript printer drivers for Windows and Adobe PostScript 3 Overview
- From Microsoft: Save your publication as a page-independent PostScript file for commercial printing and Why a commercial printer wants a PostScript or PDF file
- From Wikipedia: PostScript
- Written by Kris Hunt
Getting messages in front of a captive audience is one of the biggest marketing challenges faced by today’s brands. In the high-tech age we live in, messages bombard consumers constantly, and people have learned to tune out messages from sources like TV, radio, the Internet and print. That’s why so many brands choose to drive their advertising with vehicle wraps and fleet graphics. Vehicle wraps and fleet graphics have proven to be successful for several reasons. First and foremost, drivers are a captive audience – or at least we all hope they are. In all seriousness, the very act of driving requires that people pay attention to their surroundings, and to the vehicles in their proximity. The numbers regarding vehicle wraps and fleet graphics speak loud and clear:
- 97% said they remembered ads displayed on trucks**
- 29% said they would base a buying decision on these impressions*
- 96% claimed fleet graphics had more impact than billboards**
- 98% felt that the ad created a positive image for the advertiser**
When you look at those percentages, combined with the fact that fleet graphics give an average of 101 impressions for each mile traveled, it’s easy to see why brands are choosing to drive advertising with vehicle wraps and fleet graphics! Of course, deciding to utilize vehicle wraps and fleet graphics seems like an easy decision. Fortunately, so is choosing the right printer to make sure that your vehicle wraps and fleet graphics pop off your vehicle with brilliant color and clarity. Thomas Reprographics is an established industry leader in wide-format color printing. With over 50 years of experience, Thomas Reprographics helped pioneer full-color printing for vehicle wraps and fleet graphics, and provides a turnkey solution, from production all the way through installation on the vehicle.
Click here to learn more about how to 'drive advertising' with vehicle wraps and fleet graphics, and start realizing increased sales today! Click here to learn more about our special offers for police car graphics and first responder vehicles! Call 1.800.TRREPRO (877-312-7347) to speak with a Thomas Reprographics Print Expert to learn more.* Results of study by the American Trucking Association. ** Results of study by Robinson, Yesawich & Pepperdine Inc.
- Written by Kris Hunt
Across a wide range of industries, companies are discovering the big benefits of large format color printing. Large, beautifully printed signs and banners are a proven way to deliver messages to consumers. Studies show that color messages are far more captivating and memorable than black and white. Size also matters, with bigger messages subconsciously placed in higher priority than small messages. Take advantage of large format color printing to sell your message! There are several formats that you can take advantage of, depending on your specific needs.
Inkjet Large Format Color Printing
Oversized prints from a high-quality Inkjet printer are stunning to the eye, and versatile in their uses. These prints can be output in glossy or semi-gloss formats, and can be sized up to five feet wide by virtually any length.
Top Uses for Inkjet Printing:
- Retail Signage
- Trade Show Booths
- Color Comps
- Business Presentations
- Courtroom Exhibits
- Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays
- Other Short-run Projects
Direct-to-Board Large Format Color Printing
When you’re looking to print on something rigid, direct-to-board large format color printing is your solution. Utilizing a state-of-the-art flatbed inkjet printer, high quality graphics can be printed on practically any flexible or rigid substrate.
Materials Printed on include:
- Many others – creative possibilities are infinite
Common uses for Direct-to-Board Large Format Color Printing:
- Large Format Color Outdoor Signage
- Vinyl Banners
- Window Clings
- Backlit Displays
- Exhibition Graphics
Durst Lambda/LightJet 5000 Photographic Large Format Color Printing
The beauty of the Durst Lambda/LightJet 5000 (aside from the gorgeous images) is the fact that you can print continuous tone images straight from your Mac or PC. And the images can range up to a whopping 49” wide!
The Durst Lambda/LightJet 5000 is perfectly suited for:
- Fair Stands
- Illuminated Displays
- Marketing Posters
- PR Launches
Aside from the gorgeous images produced, a wide range of media add versatility to the Durst Lambda/LightJet 5000 large format color printing possibilities. Media types range from gloss, matte, metallic, Duraflex, Duraclear and Duratrans. Regardless of your Large Format Color Printingneeds, Thomas Reprographics can help you find the solution that’s perfectly suited for your project. For 50 proud years, Thomas Reprographics has served customers with innovative print solutions and the best customer service in the business. Wide Format Imaging Magazine ranked Thomas Reprographics as the Best of the Best Top Shops! Let Thomas Reprographics print your next project to find out why. Click here to learn more about how to 'drive advertising' with vehicle wraps and fleet graphics, and start realizing increased sales today! Call 1.800.TRREPRO (1.800.877.3776) to speak with a Thomas Reprographic Print Expert to learn more.