Among the more popular columns I've written is the one on boat wraps. Many Bassmaster.com readers seemed to embrace the topic.
Now that the Elite Series season has concluded, many of the pros are busy negotiating sponsorships for next season, and with that will come newly designed wraps — not just for boats, but tow vehicles, too.
In fact, more than 75 percent of the Elite pros feature some type of vehicle wrap. They know the additional signage can greatly increase the number of impressions they'll make for the companies they represent, and it's a big selling point when negotiating a deal.
According to research, vehicle wraps generate an average of 101 impressions per highway mile driven. And when you consider the distances we travel to and from events in a single season, the cumulative number of impressions can be astronomical.
Because of their reach, wraps are considered by many marketers as the cheapest form of outdoor advertising. And for the angler, the amount of exposure gained over the course of a season could rival the publicity received by winning an Elite Series event — print and electronic media combined! So it's no wonder why the pros make use of this additional exposure — it just makes good business sense.
Like most touring pros, I run a wrapped tow vehicle. And like the others, I want mine to stand out … to be distinctive. It's part of branding and developing a unique look so sponsors, media and fans can identify with us. Just like NASCAR, our wraps are intended to make a statement.
With that in mind, I chose the professionals at Wrap This Ink in Orlando, Fla., to help me create a distinctive look — one that's consistent with my truck and boat, even my tournament apparel. Their in-house artists are tech-savvy and extremely talented. They do custom work for other pros, including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Shaw Grigsby, Terry Scroggins, Casey Ashley, Davy Hite and many others.
In some cases, the design concept is driven by a "title" sponsor. You see them everywhere we go — companies like Toyota, Shimano and Bass Pro Shops. My title sponsor is Rapala. In fact, I've run a Rapala-wrapped truck and boat since the inception of the Elite Series back in 2006. It's become part of my identity, and I'm extremely proud of the association.
Along with Rapala, the design includes the logos of all my other sponsors.
Once a design is agreed on, it's time to print and begin the wrap process.
Unlike boats, tow vehicles present a whole new set of challenges for installers. They're more complex, with as many as 10 to 12 panels, plus molded bumpers to consider. Custom fitting a wrap to so many panels and radical curves can be problematic — everything needs to align perfectly in order to maintain the integrity of the overall design. And it's problems like these that will put an installer's skills to the test.
I don’t want to leave anything to chance. That's why I work with a company that I know will use quality materials and deliver a finely finished product. And more importantly, that will stand behind their work.
Just like the boats they wrap, the guys as Wrap This Ink use high-grade 3M films, which are durable and offer built-in UV inhibitors to protect the print. They come in a variety of textures and finishes, including high gloss and the new "rad" generation favorite, matte.
Similar to a decal, the film has an adhesive backing — one that's super sticky to withstand the elements. When applied correctly, a 3M wrap can last for years.
It's neat to watch as installers patiently spread the film onto a vehicle's surface, aligning each panel as they go. They use squeegees and other tools to smooth out the wrinkles and follow contours. It's a tedious process that can take up to several days, but when it's done, you not only have an attractive mobile billboard, the vehicle's original surface remains protected until the film is eventually removed.
So the next time you see one of us trailering a bunch of logos down the highway, toot the horn and let us know you're there. That way we'll know you're getting the message.