Laws against billboards, how about wrap one?

There appears to be a new phenomenon of people being paid to “wrap” their cars in advertisements as a sort of moving billboard. (article see the article here) I had seen several flatbed trucks which had been outfitted with billboards on the back before, but I have not seen one of these cars yet. Maybe that is because I live in a place where huge SUV’s are essentially undriveable due to lack of parking. However, this struck me as crazy –

Nextel XB3M, 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 racecars, helicopters, planes, boats and even buildings. Far from hurting the paint job, the wrap preserves it.

The company either gives its brand ambassadors free cars or, more often, pays them as much as $800 a month. In the last seven years, FreeCar Media has hired about 7,000 motorists, who are instructed to park outside whenever possible, refrain from smoking, littering or swearing in their vehicle, and to attend a monthly influencer event where they hand out samples or coupons. They also have to send reports frequently with photographs to show where their cars have been.

Of course, if you’re driving a mobile billboard, you are a de-facto ambassador of the company brand. So they also police their drivers behavior.

People whose cars were wrapped with ads for two Coca-Cola products — Planet Java, a bottled coffee, and Vault, an energy drink — were cautioned against sipping Pepsi products behind the wheel. Nor could they park at restaurant chains like KFC or Pizza Hut that serve Pepsi exclusively, Mr. Livingston said.

“We weren’t allowed to have alcohol in or around the car, or use profanity,” said Mr. Harris, who now lives in Brooklyn and is a few credits shy of a degree in advertising. “When you’re out, you’re supposed to be representing the brand.”

The whole thing raises all kinds of alarm bells. I suppose my biggest concern would be the evasion of regulation. The amount of billboards on the roadways is tightly regulated, and this seems like a way to get around that. This should be regulated from the outset as billboards are.

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  1. mikelite says:

    this ain’t new. they’ve had these “services” for at least ten years now. Free car, just ruin the public space with your moving billboard.

  2. Panda_ping says:

    Like Mikelite said its been around for awhile now becasue i remember my father wanted to get in to this but he couldn’t because he didn’t drive that far to work and the population in our area was to low. So they didnt want to have him do it

  3. raafi says:

    Going the other way, Sao Paulo outlawed all billboards and advertising this year. Pretty impressive that some places can take this type of stand, while in the states we sigh as every last bit of surface area gets logoed off.

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