You may have seen the news story concerning the Texas plumber whose pick up truck ended up in Syria after he sold it at auction. Not his problem we might think except that the truck still had his company name, logo and contact details plastered on the side and when pictures of the vehicle, now installed with an anti-aircraft gun on the back, appeared on world news he began receiving death threats from people who wrongly thought he was a traitor.
The plumber is now suing the car dealership that bought the truck from him but, irrespective of whose fault it is legally, it does raise the question of what should be done with vehicle branding when the vehicle in question is moved out of your business and should you leave it to someone else to remove it? Vehicle livery is known to be one of the most cost effective means of marketing; for a few hundred quid a mobile advert seen by thousands each week can be professionally added to a car or van. But could this backfire later when the vehicle is disposed of? Although it’s unlikely to become a mobile weapon it could detract from your company image merely if it’s dirty, badly maintained, driven at illegal speeds or involved in an accident.
The answer is simple – take responsibility for having the vehicle de-stickered before it goes and thereby protect your image. Leased cars or vans don’t tend to suffer this problem as they have to be returned in the condition, allowing for reasonable wear and tear, they came in otherwise the customer is charged a fee but owned vehicles are often sold on without too much thought being given to the potential consequences of branding falling into the wrong hands.
Even this may not always totally remove association with your brand. A friend of mine bought an undressed blue British Gas van recently and he constantly gets flashed by BG’s fleet who think he’s one of theirs. If you get to the point where people recognise your business by the colour of your vehicle though, you are probably doing ok and likely to have your own brand police dept to worry about these matters.
For the full story on the Texas plumber seehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03cb395
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