Promotional Vehicles 101

We receive many inquiries weekly about the creation of promotional vehicles.
Because there is so much interest in making one’s brand stand out, we created a primer on the how-to of our creative process as it concerns you, the customer.

It all starts with a conversation.
“We have a place of business and/or a product we’d like to promote with a vehicle for the street.”

In this fictional case-study, we are approached by Top Gun Hobby, a shop that deals to the consumer in RC vehicles of all sorts. The shop does OK business but wants to distinguish itself and capture greater market share in a clever way.

Some questions we asked:
“Does the vehicle just need to look good or does it need to have other capabilities like transporting product?”
“What type a vehicle do you want? (I.e. a car, a truck, a cargo van, etc)”
“How many vehicles do you need and would they all be the same?”
“In what conditions would they mostly need to operate? (E.g. temperate, tropic or arctic zones)”

In the case of the hobby shop, they just wanted a cute promotional vehicle for a mid-sized market that might occasionally transport small to medium-sized objects.

“Okay,” we say “how about one of these modern econo-boxes with a representative model of something you sell in your store on top of the car, maybe a P-51?”

“Cool,” they say, “what would that look like?”

Now it’s napkin-sketch time.

“Okay, we’re feeling it. What would that look like in a more realistic sense?”

Then we move into the 2-D “rendering” phase where we crystallize the idea and build a photo-suggestive mockup that gives a fairly good idea of what the overall shape and dimension the vehicle would have. This helps them visualize the concept and facilitates further discussion.

“Okay, we can see it. How much would such a thing cost?” they said.

At this point, we developed a rough cost estimate which will vary depending on a number of factors like who will source the vehicle, what manner the graphic identity would be applied and the overall level of detail and functionality of the various components and aesthetics.

Once we agreed on a budget and received the rendering deposit, we move on to the 3-D, photo-realizing phase of the design process, which cements the aesthetic appearance of the finished product. The rendering fee is for the generation of photo-realistic 3-D artwork that accurately articulates our vision of the project and which can be purchased as a stand-alone item if the client wants or needs to place the project on a temporary or indefinite hold.

First we develop a 3-D model of the vehicle in question, in this case a late model Fiat 500.

Naked Fiat screenshot

Then we apply color, just the right color for the job.  HobbyShopFiat_justpaint

Then we start applying graphics. In this case, we developed a new corporate ID for the client, separate from the promotional vehicle project, but which also lent itself to the graphic expression of the vehicle.


Then we flesh out the graphic ID of the vehicle.


Then we add the crown jewels, so to speak, the P-51 Mustang.



We know this is an oversimplified summary of the process, but if it helps you distill your thoughts about your promotional vehicle(s), it helps us all.

We know you’re saying, “Yeah, come on, how much is it?”
As we say, it depends on a multitude of factors and every project is unique.
If you have something in mind, call us to discuss it.

A2ZFX: 661.940.9470