Vehicle wraps have risen to become a fixture in advertising. When the first vehicles were wrapped, they were oddities often gawked at, drawing the attention due to its sheer novelty. As wraps migrated from bus, to cars, and now trains, vehicle wraps that serve as advertising space can be found virtually in all forms of transportation.
Recently, I was shown an Eva Airlines’ special Hello Kitty airplane. To those of you that don’t know, Hello Kitty is a iconic cartoon-like cat that has a cult following with females and those that watch Japanese Anime. An entire airplane, staff, and equipment (clothing, food) has been customized to match this Hello Kitty theme. Although, the exact technology to apply the large graphical cats to the outside of the plane may not be the same as that in car wraps, they both serve similar branding purposes.
When this new form of ad medium reaches saturation, the flaws are scrutinized in much more detail. Even if the wrap itself is brilliantly designed, other aspects of the wrap itself may generate complaints. One case is in this San Diego public train that travels along the coastline. The organization that runs the train sells advertising space on the outside of the train. Vehicle wrap is then printed with the ad art and applied to the outside of the train. Unfortunately, parts of the ads are applied over the windows of the train itself, thereby obscuring the view of passengers within parts of the train.
Although the film itself is designed to try not to obscure vision by using perforated materials, 50% holes and 50% printable surface, riders on the inside of the train are seeing around 50% less of incoming visible light. To some people, this would not be a distraction, but one daily commuter offered his opinion:
“It’s almost like one of those tests for epilepsy,” Tobias says, smiling. “You’ve got things moving in the background and a stationary grid in the foreground. I imagine if you were the right person you could get seizures.”