OK, That’s a Double Wrap

Eric Zemsky had to nose his way through seething hordes of pedestrians while driving a car a while back that was wrapped in a Playboy logo. People would come up and stick their heads in the window to see if Hef (or Mandy and Sandy) was in the backseat.

Zemsky has been tooling around in wrapped cars for a while now, and he gets enthusiastic reactions everywhere he goes. And now that the vehicle-advertising/mobile-sampling company he works for, Los Angeles-based FreeCar Media, has merged with fellow market leader Autowraps in New York, he plans to turn more heads on more sidewalks in more cities than ever.

“I’d like to get brand managers in the car and drive them around and show them just how people react,” says Zemsky, vp of marketing for the merged company. “Sometimes they just stop and turn their heads all the way around, watching the car go by.” (A quick jaunt with Zemsky around the East Village last week in a wrapped Chrysler PT Cruiser confirmed this.)

Autowraps and FreeCar pioneered the practice of matching the driving behavior and demographics of motorists with clients interested in wrapping vehicles. Drivers act as brand ambassadors for companies such as Verizon DSL, Qwest and PowerBar, driving their everyday routes and handing out samples, coupons and product info.

A key advantage of the merger is that it brings the companies’ substantial data sets together, which Zemsky says gives clients enough wide-ranging measurement tools to feel comfortable committing resources to mobile outdoor marketing. “Instead of being an add-on,” he says, “this can now be the mainstay of a marketing program.”