Your Rolling Billboard

Branding Hits the Road

– by Lynne Brandon

Vehicle wraps can take your branding on the road, reaching potential customers at the pace of life. Southern PHC talked with both Matthews Mobile Media and Johns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, to learn how wraps can help businesses in our industry.

In our busy, fast-paced world, consumers take not a minute, but seconds to read a headline or click on an ad …or not. With consumers overwhelmed with so many distractions, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to get their message across. Mobile everything is picking up speed including an increasingly popular way of advertising – wrapping vehicles.

Southern PHC recently talked to both Matthews Mobile Media (M3), who specializes in designing and wrapping cars, trucks and vans for businesses, and with Johns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, one of M3’s largest customers, who have been gaining brand recognition through wraps for over a decade.


Branding Magic for Johns Plumbing

Johns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has a fleet of wrapped vehicles. Johns Plumbing was the first plumbing business customer of M3 and is their largest customer with an estimated 10 new wrapped vehicles each year. The relationship started in part due to proximity – M3’s original location was down the street from Johns Plumbing. “You can see Johns’ trucks a mile away,” smiled Graham Matthews of M3. “The bright blue and yellow are also a factor in why their advertising works.”

“We have been using Matthews Mobile Media for more than 10 years now and in the almost 7 years that I have been with the Johns Plumbing, Heating and Air, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone mentions our vans,” said Johns Plumbing  President, David Murphy, II.

Murphy continued, “Prior to wrapping our vehicles like we do now we, like most companies in our industry, were just painting the names of the company on the side of a van. With the wrapping process we were given the opportunity to do so much more than just have the name of the company on the vans. We have been able to consistently use the company logo across all methods of advertising, which I think is important.

“I can’t say what the dollar increase in business would be from our vans being wrapped, but on average we probably have 80 to 100 new customers a year because they have seen our vans.

“From a cost standpoint for the wrap, we now just include it as a cost of doing business. When we budget out capital expenditures for a given year, it just gets included in the dollar amount that we plan or expect to spend. I don’t see how, as a company we could ever go away from the wraps like we are currently using.

“As for the decision to move towards the wrap instead of having a painted van, I think that decision was made out of necessity to keep up with the industry. Having been in business for 47 years, we have constantly had to change our marketing and advertising strategies to keep up with new methods and trends within the industry. For years the main way of advertising was a printed Yellow Page book, which has unfortunately gone by the wayside these days. Nowadays we are doing more and more online advertising and with visual aids that catch a current or potential customer’s attention.  The vehicle wraps are a way that we continue to catch a customer’s attention when they aren’t online. The customers love the yellow color and can always spot us while driving around town.

“When I meet someone for the first time and they learn where I work, they always bring up our vans. That to me speaks to the overall impact the vehicle wraps have had for our business.”


Branding Opportunities Abound

While M3 specializes in designing and wrapping cars, trucks and vans, branding opportunities don’t end there. “There is an application for everything,” said Matthews. “There is no shortage of where we can put a brand name.” During Covid, M3 was not only busy wrapping medical vans, buses and trucks, but also plexiglas protectors, which is a great idea for plumbing supply houses that now use plexiglass at their service counters.

The M3 shop tour includes sophisticated equipment that is used to produce wraps, decals, signage and other modern ways to advertise a brand. Matthews points out the latest-and-greatest massive HP 800 series printer, lamination table and an air-operated 16-foot long application table for cutting decals. The ZUND machine is used for cutting vinyl, which is what wraps are made from. Rounding out the state of the art equipment is the UV flat bed printer that can print on material that is 2.5 inches thick.

The installation space is where the magic happens. The temperature-controlled space can accommodate a 53-foot trailer and 45 foot buses allowing installers to work year round regardless of weather.

M3 sits apart from other graphics companies due to its 3M certification required for installers.

The company works with all budgets to meet every need from full wraps, partial wrap to decals and logos. Design time, production and installation make up the final cost. A template is used for every installation and kept for future use to ensure replication for repeat orders. Turn around time is normally two to four weeks.

Word of mouth is nice, but so is the instant gratification of being waved at and stopped by drivers who like what they see. M3 has their own wrapped vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler. “I can’t tell you how many times I have been approached at the gas station by people when we drive our wrapped Jeep,” said Gafford. “It is truly the best advertising.”


10 Rules for Wraps

Vehicle wraps can truly be great advertising. Thinking of perhaps wrapping your business fleet? Read Southern PHC’s article, 10 Rules for Wraps, to learn what Matt Michel, CEO of Service Roundtable, has to say about maximizing their impact for your business.

Johns Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning

“You can see Johns’ trucks a mile away,” remarked Graham Matthews of M3. Johns Plumbing President, David Murphy, II commented, “we probably have 80 to 100 new customers a year because they have seen our vans.”

M3 and Johns

Eddie Gafford, General Manager for Matthews Mobile Media (left) and David Murphy, II, President of Johns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in front of an attention-grabbing, wrapped fleet truck.

M3 Graham Matthews

Graham Matthews is the grandson of Robert Matthews, founder of M3’s parent company, Matthew’s Buses, Inc. in upstate New York. Here he shows fleet van graphics for another plumbing and air company served by Matthews Mobile Media. M3 wraps fleet vehicles for a number of plumbing, heating and cooling companies, as well as a various other businesses and organizations.

M3 bay
M3 graphics production
M3 graphics production
M3 graphics production
M3 wrapped Jeep

Southern PHC got a behind the scenes look at how M3 make vehicle wraps and other graphics happen. The Matthews Mobile Media wrapped Jeep is a great example of how M3 can  take a company’s brand on the road.