How German taxis created the vehicle wrap


If you spend any time driving in London, you’ll have seen plenty of vehicles sporting incredible vinyl wrap signage. This affordable way of advertising your goods and services is definitely the wave of the future, with over 3,000 impressions an hour on the streets of a busy city.

But did you know that vehicles have been used as a way of promoting brands since the 1900s? Or that vinyl wraps were first used by the US Airforce?

When paint was king

There’s an art to old-fashioned sign writing, and before the invention of vinyl wraps, paint was the only way that you could use your vehicle to promote your brand.

Milton Hershey, of chocolate bar fame, was the first to brand a vehicle by simply painting his brand on it. Getting the look just right was a skillful – and expensive – business, but it was the only way to get the job done, until the 1920s, when the Goodrich Corporation invented vinyl chloride.

The big bang

This was the big bang for car signwriting, though it would be a few years before vinyl was affordable enough to wrap cars. Incredibly enough, this flexible and versatile material was created from salt, water, limestone and coke which combined to create a material that was used for everything from shock absorbers to raincoats.

But only those with deep pockets could afford to use it for a vehicle wrap and it was the US Air Force that first took up the idea, using vinyl to create labels for their aircraft.

Any colour as long as it’s blah

The real boom in vinyl wrapping came in the 1980s, as the costs of the materials fell and new printing and cutting technologies made a vehicle wrap more affordable than ever before.

And this is where the story takes a slightly bizarre turn. In the 1990s, German taxis were required by law to be painted an unattractive beige colour. That meant that the used vehicles had virtually no resale value and the owners were spending a fortune in paint jobs.

Someone eventually realised that a beige vinyl wrap was the answer to all their problems. Not only could they brand their vehicle fleet with a consistent look that passersby immediately recognised, but the wrap was easy to remove and left the original paintwork spotless, leading to high resale values.

Flawless signage for your fleet

Of course, modern vinyl wraps incorporate incredible textures, colours and designs to create eye-popping designs that keep your business top of mind for old and new customers.

Vinyl wrap advertising is now one of the most cost-effective and eye-catching ways to promote your brand. Where an advert might be heard or seen a handful of times, your mobile billboard can drive directly into the heart of your target market and create thousands of impressions for as little as 10p per thousand views.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a fleet of vehicles or a single company car – this style of advertising will be equally effective.

If vinyl signwriting sounds like a good match for your business, why not contact Vehicle Sign Writing today and talk to us about your next vehicle wrap?

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