Your Client’s Message on Food Trucks

By Diego Vasquez

Fully wrapped trucks are sent out offering free food

As Americans’ increasingly robust waistlines can attest, the way to our hearts is through our stomachs, and advertisers have embraced that idea.

They are sending wrapped trucks distributing free food into high-traffic neighborhoods to draw in potential consumers and introduce them to their product.

A fully wrapped truck is hard to miss, and the free food ensures that people will come to the truck voluntarily. Once there, they not only get a free sample but also information about whatever the advertiser is pushing.

To find out how to get your client’s message out using customized food trucks, read on.

This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.

Fast Facts

Advertising using customized food trucks.

Any agency with out-of-home capabilities can help set up a food truck campaign by renting a truck from an established vendor.

How it works
The first step in executing a food truck campaign is securing the truck. The easiest and most common way to do this is to rent a truck from an existing vendor, which saves time because the proper food-serving permits are already in place. The truck also provides the food.

The next step is to wrap the truck. The agency provides the dimensions of the truck to the advertiser, who comes up with the creative to be printed on a vinyl wrap.

The final step is to send the truck out into high-traffic neighborhoods. Because the trucks are fully customizable, advertisers can serve any kind of food they want. They can also include branded items such as containers, cups and napkins to be distributed as well.

Often an advertiser will use the trucks to hand out free samples of its own food products. For example, last year the Mexican grill chain Qdoba sent out a truck with its new mini street tacos.

But the advertiser doesn’t have to be in the food industry. In fact, advertisers can come up with some pretty clever ways to tie the food to their own product. Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Ski Resort recently handed out free snow cones.

Advertisers can make their campaigns stand out even more by adding extra elements, such as a TV screen on the truck or a street team to interact with people while they wait in line for their food.

A social media element can also be included. For example, an advertiser may use Twitter to tell followers where its free-food truck will be that day. The hope is that followers will share that information with others, bringing more exposure to the campaign and the brand.

Customized food trucks can be deployed in any market.

Agencies say an average food truck dishes out 300 to 1,000 servings per day. But a well-prepared food truck serving premade items such as cookies or ice cream at a busy event can serve between 5,000 and 10,000.

How it is measured
Street traffic data can be used to estimate impressions, and advertisers can also track how many servings were given away.

What product categories work well
Ad categories that have used food trucks include TV networks, travel, magazines, restaurants, sports teams, fashion, healthcare and household supplies.

In addition to hitting high-traffic areas such as business districts, food trucks can be used to target specific events, such as tailgating parties before college football games.

Among adult college football fans, 62 percent are male and 38 percent female, according to Scarborough Research.

Twelve percent are ages 18-24, 18 percent are 25-34, 19 percent are 35-44, 20 percent are 45-54, 15 percent are 55-64 and 16 percent are age 65 or over.

Sixty-two percent have an annual household income of $50,000 or more, with 43 percent at $75,000 or more and 26 percent at $100,000 or more.

Making the buy
Lead time is typically one month.

Pricing varies based on the elements included in the campaign; a short, one-market campaign can cost $12,000, while a longer, multi-city campaign with street teams can cost $100,000 or more.

Who’s already using food trucks
Customized food trucks have been used by Chase, Sundance Channel, Si TV, BET, Heavenly Ski Resort and Osram Sylvania light bulbs.

What they’re saying
“You can wrap it fully and the truck moves around the city, so you get impressions when it’s on the move. And the buzz you can create through social media adds another element—people start following it and sharing the location, so you can create a huge following for it. You get a lot of impressions and create a lot of positive buzz.” – Sasha Engel, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at GoGorilla Media

Web site info

GoGorilla Media

Brand Marketers

michael alan group

Mango Moose Media

Attack! Marketing