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How Trucks Became A Driving Force In Building Brands

by Nigel Webster
on 17th June 2019

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When it comes to advertising and marketing, we’re rather spoilt for choice in 2019. We have so many places to turn to get the word out about our businesses and brands, from modern channels like the internet and social media, to traditional options such as radio, TV, and print advertising. However, one avenue that has become increasingly popular comparatively recently is truck media – but how did this come to be?

Having spoken to Jonathan Bramley, the founder of truck media provider (and valued collaborators with PressOn) In Your Space, we’ve been thinking; while it’s vital for media buyers to know how effective truck media advertising is, it’s also useful to understand its development into a niche channel, ideally suited to discerning marketers.

Advertising brands on the side of trucks wasn’t always as popular (or as possible) as it is today, and there are a few key things that have led to this impactful form of media becoming the driving force in vehicle marketing…

A crowded space

busy crowd

Whatever industry you work in, it’s arguably never been harder to stand out. Compared to even a few decades ago, the scale and variety of advertising is now so vast, it’s extremely difficult to be seen in the sea of physical and digital marketing.

As digital technology has risen in popularity and prominence, it’s no longer possible to ignore – and the internet boom has brought with it even more channels for marketing in the form of search engine, web, and social media advertising. With the internet now a viable ‘premises’, it’s also easier to start a business than ever before – between 2000 and 2018, 2.2 million new businesses were established in the UK.

But what does this all have to do with truck advertising? Put simply, for businesses looking to reach a massive audience in a high impact, long-lasting way, truck media has offered something of a breath of fresh air.

Our motorways aren’t besieged by advertising in the way our city centres are; truck media offers a unique channel in that ads are in view of consumers (motorists) for longer, and don’t have to compete with other businesses as aggressively. This unique opportunity to really ‘cut through the noise’ is a big part of what has led to truck media’s popularity.

A captive audience

cars on the road

Every marketing channel is, or really should be defined by its reach. Who sees the ad, where, and how? These are the key questions every marketer needs to ask. When you drill down into it, these are often fairly self evident; billboards and hoardings are seen by a broad spectrum of passers-by; retail banners are seen by shoppers of a particular store or mall, and so on.

This is one area in which truck advertising really stands out – it not only has access to a unique audience in the form of motorists, but the context in which they are exposed to the advertising. Unlike billboards in a town centre, truck adverts aren’t static, and offer exposure over a wide area. This, coupled with the massive audience size, leads to some of the most impactful exposure on the market.

It is this ‘captive’ audience that has led retailers and brands to opt for truck media so much more proactively than in recent years.

“In the early days there was no legal way of advertising on the motorway network (there were trailers in farmers’ field but these weren’t strictly legal). Truck media helped respectable brands reach this valuable audience.” – Jonathan Bramley

Things have changed a lot over the past century of advertising, and few channels offer quite as unique an audience as truck media. Importantly, it’s not just the nature of the audience truck media can target, but the size, too…

More consumers on the roads

motorways with cars and trucks

As the years go by, everything in our busy modern world seems to increase. There are more businesses, more channels, more websites, more adverts – more everything. There are more cars on the roads than ever before, and this means the audience for truck advertising has never been larger.

What this means, simply put, is that the audience size and potential reach of truck media advertising has increased consistently. This in turn has made the medium even more viable both in terms of cost-efficiency and potential return on investment, and goes some way to explain its growth in popularity.  

More trucks on the roads

trucks lined up

Importantly, it’s not just the number of consumers on the road that have massively increased, it’s the number of trucks themselves. As we make an increasing number of purchases online, the number of delivery vehicles on the road increases drastically. This means more fleets in operation, and more opportunity for marketing.

This is a basic contributor to truck media’s success, as its appeal to retailers – particularly those who operate online and deliver their goods – has dramatically increased. Businesses with no physical presence are increasingly turning to truck media as a way of establishing themselves as a real-world entity, and creating the sense that their products are being ferried around the nation en masse.

A cost-effective option

Measuring effectiveness

As a primary factor for any marketing strategy, budget and costs are something that have also contributed to truck media’s rising popularity. One of the most appealing things about truck advertising is its pricing structure, which caters to businesses with smaller marketing budgets due to its comparatively low monthly cost.

As competition for ad space increases, and new options like digital screens and online advertising make it easier than ever for brands to advertise, the costs required for a good return on investment are rising. While good strategy is at the heart of this, the ‘pay to play’ model of advertising is making it harder and harder for brands with small budgets to make a mark.

However, depending on the nature of your business, truck media can offer something of a magic bullet when it comes to reaching as many people as possible for a comparably low cost. Campaigns usually run for 9-12 months (rather than the formats that operate on a strict posting cycle), and the ongoing cost is affordable for what you get in terms of reach.

The type of reach is also particularly valuable. Customers on the motorways welcome diversion from a monotonous journey. Brands have the opportunity to really influence the perception a consumer has of them by putting something in an environment where consumers have time to really reflect on the message – as Bramley puts it:

“When you’re on the road – particularly if you’re driving on a motorway – your potential distraction or attention time is much higher: you aren’t using your mobile phone, and something like an outdoor advertisement will hold your attention for longer”

….

It’s true that when it comes to advertising options, we do have all kinds of places to turn in 2019 – but there are few quite as dynamic as truck advertising. We’re excited to see how brands use this channel in their campaigns moving forwards, and we’re even more excited to work on printing these campaigns with In Your Space. Stay tuned to our social media channels and case studies pages for more!

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Written by
Nigel Webster Managing Director