Car Wrap Turns into a Movie ‘Wrap’ for Printer –MichelsonJune 2011
Stephen Hoey, president of wide-format graphics printer KDF Reprographics, had no idea that a request to produce the vinyl vehicle wrap for a Mini Cooper "on the cheap" would lead to several related print jobs, a role in a movie and national exposure for his Rockleigh, NJ-based company. It all started last year when KDF was approached by a film production company about wrapping a Mini Cooper to be used in the documentary "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold." The latest brainchild of documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (creator of the fast-food exposé "Super Size Me"), the film pokes fun at the unabashed use of paid product placements in Hollywood movies. It features Spurlock driving the Mini Cooper—emblazoned with the logos of corporate backers—across the country in search of more sponsors to finance his movie.
KDF Reprographics ended up wrapping the Mini Cooper free of charge using its six-color Mutoh ValuJet 2606 wide-format printer in exchange for the promotional benefits of getting to appear in the movie. "Not only had I offered them a free vehicle wrap but, unbeknownst to me, I had just proven the point of their movie without even knowing the point of the movie," relates Hoey. Last August, a film crew visited KDF's facility to shoot footage of the vinyl wrapping process, some of which made the final movie cut. The documentary debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and was purchased by Sony Classics, which released it nationwide in April.
Once the film got picked up by Sony Classics, additional sponsors came on board in droves. The Mini Cooper wrap required constant updating, with KDF adding new sponsor logos every week. The printer also produced vinyl wraps for two more Mini Coopers on display at the premier showings of "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" in Los Angeles and New York, as well as wraps for several Mini Cooper dealerships. The original car was even featured on the Conan O'Brien late night talk show. And, after seeing samples of KDF's 3D lenticular printing capabilities, Spurlock hired the firm to create some 3D movie posters and large-scale lenticular theater lobby displays.
"No one expects something like this to land in their lap," says Hoey, of what he initially considered to be a mundane car wrap request. "The key is not to be penny-wise, but pound-foolish. Look for the potential value in your customer relationships. You never know when a banner or poster could be a doorway into something huge."
As an aside, KDF is also the exclusive print media provider for 2012 presidential candidate The Naked Cowboy. Visitors to New York's Times Square might catch The Naked Cowboy strumming his guitar wearing nothing but his signature cowboy hat and white briefs. "I'm pretty sure a naked person of any vocation has never held public office before, much less a Naked Cowboy," Hoey quips, "so, this could be history in the making." You never know…when it comes to politics, stranger things have happened.
Mark T. Michelson