THE ADVERTISING VALUE OF THE MOTOR VAN.
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The Best Means of Utilizing Body Exteriors in Order to Catch the Public Eye.
IT WOULD BE absurd to attempt to assess exactly the advertisement value of a motor vehicle. In. some trades and instances it is practically nil ; in others, it can be made very considerable. The possibilities are, however, frequently neglected, unless, as in the ease of certain carriers' vehicles, the advertisement space is let to a contractoi Who siibf-Iets it at profitable terms. The fact that .such' ,d4business is possiblesanct can. be succeasfully run-is sufficient in itself to prove that very-niany'tracierswholown,and use their own motors' are throwing away very `valuable opportunities for publicity as a consequence of a lack of touch between their transport and advertisement departments.
In the ordinary departmental system of doing business, those itt charge of each department are not _concerned directly with the success of other departments. It is for them to secure the best possible financial reeults in their own. An ordinary carrier can negotiate for the display of anybody's advertisements •on his vans; the manager of a firm'si delivery department cannot negotiate for the display of any advertisements except those of his own firm. If he does such advertising, his department should be credited with its estimated value, the advertisement department paying the cost.
which benefits. • The whole question is deserving of discussion,between the de. partmental managers concerned in any large business which uses motor vans, and consideration by the heads of comparatively small businesses not departmentalized.
• The average retail trader can use motor vehicles as advertisements fer either or both of two purposes. By advertising his name and trade boldly upon the vehicle body he can show people that he is a motor user, from which they can infer his capacity for effecting prompt direct deliveries. This may well give him an advantage over other local competitors. He can also use his van body as he would a hoarding or advertisement space on railway platforms, railway carriages, and elsewhere ; that is to say, to advertise the nature and attractive prices of the goods he supplies.
In so doing, he must always remember that an advertisement on a rapidly-moving vehicle cannot be read unless boldly displayed and so shortly and simply waded that there is time for the passerby to complete the reading if it attracts his attention.
Unless the trader's name is already very well known it is useless to tell the public that the van is the property of Jones, Brown, or Robinson, without also stating what is this gentle man's trade and where it is carried on. •
It is equally ineffectual to convey to thepassing public the information that shirts can be bought for 7s. 6d. or costumes for seven guineas if the people who learn these facts are left in total ignorance as to where to go to get• the goods in question.
All thisaaneans that the advertising of the small. traderon his.ruotovvans should differ -from that of the very large and well-known retail house, and •still more from that of the large wholesaler or manufacturer using-the motor vehicles for distributing goods to his retailere. In the last-named clam, it is frequently possible to do a good deal in the way of shaping the whole body of a van into the semblance of the article to be advertised.
Thus, to take known examples, the van may have the appearance of a section of a pneumatic tyre or it.may look like a bottle, a pencil, Or a specially-shaped box associated with some proprietary article. Again, the owners of some proprietary article of a largelyadvertised, type frequently adopt the policy of associating some particular figure or design with all their advertisements. Thus, for instance, the figure of a black cat, Johnnie Walker, or a white swan, would, without wording, advertise a well-knpwn cigarette, a
brand of whisky, and a big retail establishment at Piccadilly Circus. .
Very distinctive design or embellishment of the body must, however, have been preceded,..or be accompanied, by general advertising connecting the figure or design. with some particular proprietary article or business.
Most well-known retail establishments can probably be satisfied with painting their names in large letters on their van bodies, using a scheme of colouring which strikes the eye. Traders wile are less well known must endeavour to explain themselves more fully, and this may mean less striking designs for advertisements.
If the use of a vehicle is such that it stands a. goad deal of its time in widely-used thoroughfares, then the advertising scheme can be varied accordingly, and can be addressed to those who have time to read rather than to those who are limited to a fleeting glimpse. The difference between the two cases is much the same as the difference between advertising alongside the railway in the country and. advertising to the passengers of the same railway while they are waiting on the platforms. The advertisement that must be read in motion must be very simple and catchy ; that which can be read at leisure can go into more detail.
. The whole subject of rendering motor vehicles valuable as advertisements has been forced rather into the background during the war. The main reascn for this has been connected with the lighting restrictions. It is important in this country in which, so many of the hours during which people are about are hours of darkness, that advertisements should be so placed a and illuminated as to be useful by night ae well as by day. Failing this, a. great measure of their value, particularly in the winter, is dissipated.
During the war lighting restrictions and other causes led to the suppression of illuminated advertisements. Motor vehicles have, however, ecasidera.ble possibilities in this respect ,:whioh should now be develo.ped. Advertisements on vehicles can be lighted by saws of electric lamps suitably placed round them, or they can be shown as transparencies, with lights behind them. There is no reason why on a small scale the motor vehicle sheuld not advertise somewhat on the lines of the electric sky sign showing words in changing colours, though, so far as we are aware, this has never yet been done. The possibilities of night advertising on motor vans have been much improved by the development of really satisfactory equipment for the electric lighting of vehicles.
One must not, however, assume that, because an electric lighting equipment is an the vehicle, it is necessarily adequate,f or the illumination of advertisements. The battery and dynamo are probably calculated only to provide current for the light wanted for the internal and external lighting of the vehicle itself. Therefore, if it is proposed to illuminate advertisements, the advice of an expert should be sought as to the total candle-power of the lamps required for this purpose, and to this must be, added.the candle-power of the vehicle lamps themselves. We are then in a position to go to the manufacturer of electric lighting equipment with the data which will enable him to tell us which electric lighting set is required for our purpose.
It might well be that a van with illuminated advertisements, would want ad electric lighting set of the type generalIf. supplied for use
on omnibuses. In most cases, when an the lights are burning, the battery is being gradually discharged, despite its reception of current from the dynamos. Therefore, if a great deal of night running is being done, there is always the possibility that current may begin to run short before the end of the evening. For this reason a substantial battery is required, and the whole equipment should be so arranged that this battery is charged at something rather above the normal rate during the daytime.
In the summer months the artificial illuminant will probably not be needed, and the dynamo can be disconnected and the battery temporarily removed, or else the electric circuit can be interrupted so that practically no power is wasted in running the dynamo.
It is, of course, convenient if an electric insulation is provided to employ the battery current also for driving or starting the motor, which, saves either manual labour or unnecessary waste of fuel in connection with short stops made for delivery purposes. If, however, the demand on the battery for lighting purposes only isheavy, it will probably be found that the electrical manufacturers will not advise that the extra duty of working a starting motor shall be put upon it.