Rolling advertisements have become commonplace, as companies try to turn heads by decking out a fleet of cars in corporate colours.
Some brands, however, take this concept to another level, modifying their colourful cars with unique features. From a mobile DJ booth to a rolling beer dispensary, here are a few of the innovative branded cars on the road.
The Steam Weaver
Steam Whistle’s fleet is well known to Torontonians, who are accustomed to seeing the bright green automobiles on delivery runs throughout the GTA. Tim Mclaughlin, the craft brewery’s brand manager, said the retro look is “built into the core of our brand,” and exemplified on the road through a small fleet of restored pickups, vans, school buses and station wagons. The pride and joy of this mobile beer-dispensing army is the Steam Weaver, a restored 1973 Dodge Tradesman that’s been outfitted with custom couches, a table that converts into a bed, two 18-inch subwoofers, eight speakers, two beer taps and shag carpeting throughout the interior.
The Ice Truck
Though it melted into a puddle a few hours after its debut last year, Canadians can readily find images of Canadian Tire’s automotive engineering feat, the Ice Truck, driving through ads on just about every Canadian TV channel. Susan O’Brien, the company’s vice-president of strategic marketing, said that the truck was built to demonstrate the importance of battery health in freezing temperatures. “We wanted to demonstrate this technology, and the benefits of our MotoMaster Eliminator Ultra batteries in freezing temperatures, and thought there was no better way to do this than to actually have the battery start a vehicle made of ice,” she said via e-mail. “And if the vehicle can be made to start, why couldn’t we make it drive?” The Ice Truck crawled at 20 km/h for 1.6 km before it began to melt, and was built from the working chassis of a 2005 Chevy 2500 HD, an engine, steering wheel, bumpers, tires, the aforementioned battery and 11,000 pounds of ice.
Though it has seen better days, Blinky, the talking police car, has taught children about road safety since the late 1950s. Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe said Blinky was originally a yellow Plymouth Fury, the standard colour of Toronto Police Service vehicles at the time. Today’s iteration is a 1987 Plymouth Caravelle, complete with facial features such as a nose and battery-powered eyes that move from side to side and, of course, blink. “I haven’t gotten confirmation if it’s still intact, but you used to be able speak through a speaker, and an officer in another location could have conversations with people,” said Stibbe. Though the car is immobile, it makes occasional appearances in parades, towed behind more functional vehicles.
The Red Bull Sugga
The Volvo Sugga TP21 was originally used as an off-road communications vehicle for the Swedish Armed Forces during the Second World War. Surviving vehicles from the original 720-car fleet, manufactured between 1953 and 1958, have become collectors items, restoration projects and, in Red Bull’s case, head-turning mobile parties. The four beasts that reside in Canada make frequent appearances at large events, and feature a turbo-diesel engine, three plasma TVs on hydraulics, a drop-down turntable for impromptu DJ performances, four speakers, two subwoofers, a drink cooler, strobe lights, an internal generator and a detachable winch for sporting events.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile rarely travels north of the border, but many Canadians are familiar with America’s favourite rolling mascot from its regular appearances and references in popular culture. Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl Mayer, conceived the iconic promotional car in the 1930s, the first one making its public debut in Chicago in 1936.
There are six active Wienermobiles spread across the United States, travelling to more than 12,000 events per year. Made of fibreglass and built on a cab forward chassis, the Wienermobile is powered by a Chevy Vortex 300 engine while its speaker system is powered by solar panels fastened to the roof. “It’s not your standard door, it opens like a Lamborghini cover, we call it our ‘Lambo-weini,” said Ed Roland, senior experiential marketing manager for Kraft Foods, which owns the Oscar Mayer brand. Roland said there are two seats at the front of the vehicle and four more in the back, all painted mustard yellow and ketchup red, with an interior designed to look like blue skies.
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