We’re big fans of Tesla and Elon Musk, the current patron saint of American entrepreneurs. As car guys, we’re intrigued by the future of electric cars, and believe their increased popularity will be great for the planet.  They're fast too!

So we were extremely sorry to read about the fatal accident that killed one of the electric car brand’s best-known evangelists, Navy veteran Josh Brown, while the vehicle was in autopilot mode on a Florida state road.

Though it was only reported yesterday, Brown was killed back on May 7th when his black Model S Tesla ploughed into the side of a tractor trailer truck that was turning at an intersection, shearing off the roof of the vehicle as it traveled underneath and out. You can see the police diagram here.

According to a Tesla blog post entitled “A Tragic Loss”:

Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

Ironically, Brown became Internet-famous in early April after posting a YouTube video that showed his Model S avoiding a collision while in autopilot mode.

But, as the Tesla blog suggests, not all potential collisions are created equal, and just because the car’s on autopilot doesn’t mean the former driver can turn his attention to a Harry Potter movie.

The tragedy brings up a point we’ve made several times on the Wrapify blog about technology: just because something can be done, does that mean it should be done? We’re 100% on-board with electric vehicles — they reduce our nation’s reliance on oil and make the air cleaner. Better yet, more racing fuel for petrol heads like me 🙂

But do these electric vehicles need to then evolve into self-driving cars? If, once you turn the car to autopilot, you need to keep paying attention to make sure the AI doesn’t mistake “the white side of a tractor trailer” for “a brightly-lit sky,” is that really simplifying your life? Or does it inspire a white-knuckled ride where you’re constantly second-guessing the vehicle? Also, how much of the human element can we remove from being on age-old public roadways and freeways?

And that’s not even getting into the whole “Minority Report” potential of driverless cars.

Personally, we like driving. A huge part of the pleasure of a car is the thrill of operating and controlling it, understanding how it handles and turns, knowing its intricacies and uniqueness. It’s like a good friend — and we’d always rather have a good friend than the best robot. At the same time, sipping a cup of coffee while we crank out morning emails on our commute sounds pretty damn cool too. What do you think?

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There’s an interesting article today in MediaPost that suggests technology is not a cure-all for all elements of the Out-of-Home advertising marketplace.

One of the recent so-called saviors of streamlined advertising media planning and buying has been programmatic buying because it automates all of the processes via pre-set parameters such as bid price and network reach. The big holding companies also like it because it excises the need for mid and low-level buyers (sorry, gang!).

Programmatic buying has worked well for online advertising (even if more than half the people on the Internet never see it, according to Google), and it’s started to get serious toeholds in radio and television commercial advertising buys as well.

Early steps into the OOH industry, however, are clunking. As Jerry Gondek, director of client partnerships at Out of Home America Wilkens Media notes, “Proponents of programmatic media buying promise far greater efficiency, speed, and flexibility, but a number of fundamental obstacles will make universal adoption in the OOH industry a distant prospect at best.”

Five primary barriers to programmatic buying ever becoming the norm in OOH advertising are, according to Gondek:

  • Huge variety of OOH inventory
  • Lack of standard audience data
  • Lack of addressability
  • Fragmented trading platforms
  • Industry inertia

We got a good laugh out of that last one since it’s also pretty much the last, biggest obstacle Wrapify faces as well. The others, though, either don’t relate to our platform or we’ve got ‘em solved solid.

Overall, it just goes to show, as we’ve said in the past, technology for the sake of technology is not the answer. It may well be proven that programmatic media buying is not suitable for the OOH advertising industry. But that’s not to say some other type of technology is yet to be created that changes the game, the same way Wrapify’s use of technology has amplified the power of wrapped vehicles in the OOH marketplace. We’re betting there will be.

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About a week or so ago, I stumbled upon an entertaining interview with retired NFL running back Marshawn Lynch on 60 MINUTES SPORTS. One particular segment of the video resonated with me.

Lynch described his methodology for problem solving, handling adversity, reaching his goals, getting to the next step and … winning; “Run through somebody's face. A lot of people won’t be able to take that, over and over and over … and over again.”

Lots of people shared this video because his bluntness and banter in the interview was comical, but I saw something else — Truth. With capital “T.”

Think about it; Lynch’s methodology can be applied to many situations. I have seen it work time and time again in business, romance, personal relationships. The list goes on longer than Lynch’s number of 1,000+ yard rushing seasons.

  • Completing a project
  • Bringing a product to market
  • Asking for a raise
  • Getting a date
  • Raising startup capital
  • Getting them to sign on the line which is dotted!

In a recent chat with Chamath Palihapitiya, he got pretty fired up about my politically correct response to one of our driver policies:

“F that James! That shouldn't be a reason for why you don't capitalise on a huge segment of your driver base!”  Palihapitiya said emphatically. The entire time, I was thinking, “I know Chamath, you just wait…”

Another common misinterpretation of this philosophy, whether personally or professionally, is taking it and becoming a bull in a china shop. That completely misses the point. Sometimes it’s as simple as not being overly pragmatic and making a decision that quietly pushes your chips to the center of the table.

I see extremely intelligent people paralyse themselves by falling into the weeds on a single decision….when they could have made several decisions, mistakes and learned from them. More importantly — they could have made progress. Instead, the world passed them by while less intelligent and more confident people made shit happen.

The underlying message, from both Marshawn Lynch and me: keep pressing forward, don't give a shit what anyone else thinks, and don't give up. It is easy to be a pushover, but when you run through some motherf#¢%ers face, it commands respect and attention. By the time it gets around to evoking a reaction, you are already on to the next one.

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Wrapify wasn’t in Cannes this week for the annual global advertising awards festival, but we’ve been paying attention to what’s been competing, short-listed and winning in the Outdoor category.

The Grand Prix winner in Outdoor was certainly unconventional, and the fact it was environmentally friendly and cause-related probably helped. The campaign was Heineken beer in New Zealand, and sought to show how the brewery is helping the environment by transforming its leftover beer into biofuel.

Heineken partnered with Kiwi gas provider Gull to create the biofuel product, which was then sold at 60 gas stations across New Zealand. If you bought the beer brand at participating stations, you got a discount on gas.

The OOH element was that the gas stations actually became billboards to advertise the product. It seems a rather remote connection for such a major award, but jury president Ricardo John told AdAge that "There are no boundaries in this category anymore,” and the campaign effectively gave people a good excuse to drink more beer, because “if you drink more beer you can save the world,"

The complete list of Outdoor Lions (because a “Lion” is what they call the award, like an “Oscar”) can be found here. Checking out the official winners and short-list page, a couple things jump out at us:

  • It’s a shame you can’t enlarge any of the examples of the winning work, because many of them are too small to read or discern what was award-worthy about the work to begin with.
  • Much of the winning work is billboard or poster related, which doesn’t seem like a very level playing field when put up against the Heineken/Gull biofuel multipurpose integrated campaign. It seems like there should be a special category for something like that, and actually there is — the Heineken/Gull campaign was also entered in the Promo & Activation category, where it didn’t win.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Cannes Lions is that a lot of the work isn’t even “real,” in that it barely ran or didn’t run at all. This year, Bayer pulled a two-fer when their Bronze-Award winning billboard was discovered to be both sexist and phony — an ad their own agency paid to run solely so it could be entered in Awards shows.

This final point is, to our view, the problem with advertising to begin with: It’s not about helping your client sell more stuff, it’s about garnering awards to soothe your ego because you’re not a real film director, novelist or artist.

That’s not Wrapify’s way. We’ve come up with a creative idea whose purpose is to help build brand awareness in a creative way while empowering individual drivers in the sharing economy. We don’t need awards to make our partners feel like winners — we just want to hear it from them directly 🙂

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We enjoyed reading this report from the Center for Media Research about a recent study by Borrell Associates, which finds Out-of-Home advertising is the lone marketing medium unaffected by the Internet, as well as the only one expected to show year-over-year growth for at least the next five years.

Everything in the Borrell Associates study makes sense, which is excellent because the facts work to Wrapify’s favor and show why our business is succeeding in the tumultuous marketing marketplace.

The study points out technology advancements that spur broader creativity is part of the reason for optimism and continuing growth — they cite examples like once-flat posters that have evolved into senses-pleasing combos of sound, scent and video, or billboards that can “read” from your phone or car, but Wrapify’s ability to track wrapped vehicles in real-time fits the bill just as easily.

The report also cites legislation in four states and other assorted municipalities banning billboards, for which Wrapify cars provide a canny alternative.

The “transit” portion of outdoor advertising spending is expected to increase to $1.36 billion — and that’s not counting Wrapify cars.

That’s a good thumbnail for the report, but the whole piece is worth a read. The original article from The Center for Media Research is here:

You can get a free Executive Summary of the Borrell Associates report through their website, here:

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It’s been awhile since we’ve had a chance to weigh in here, and a lot’s been happening. Not just for Wrapify — we’ve launched in Chicago via a major campaign with GhostBed, made a bunch of new hires, moved into a larger HQ — but there have also been a few noteworthy news and trend pieces that deserve closer attention.

These developments speak to both the larger advertising picture and how Wrapify’s success is the result of the demands of the current marketing marketplace.

First, Advertising Age this month reported that revenues for U.S. ad agencies are better than ever —  an increase of 6.5% to a record $46.8 billion  in 2015. For the first time, digital’s share of agency revenue surpassed 40%. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

Similarly and correspondingly, outdoor advertising also saw its best year ever, accounting for $7.3 billion in revenue. According to our friends at the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, outdoor advertising spending rose 4.6% in 2015 from the previous year. The category has now seen 23 consecutive quarters of growth since the recession.

The two biggest outdoor advertisers were McDonald's and Apple, who held the same spots in 2014 as well. The top ten list rounds out with Verizon, Warner Brothers Pictures, Metro PCS, Coca-Cola, Geico, Universal Pictures, Chase, and Samsung. All great brands.

These facts endorse Wrapify’s ongoing faith in the “Feel the Real” marketing movement….while the other trend is just waiting for reality to catch up to virtual fantasy.

We remain confident that outdoor advertising is going to continue to blossom and expand, while digital may have reached its peak and will plateau. If not in 2016, then next year, as more and more marketers come to terms with the fact that at least half their digital spend is wasted.

Again, let’s go through the list:

Wrapify has already seen digital dollars flow our way. It’s happening more and more each month, as brands wake up to the fact that half their digital ad spend is wasted. We expect the deluge to hit just about the time reality catches up with this ad-tech bubble (did any of you read Disrupted?).

Wrapify’s not based on technology simply for its own sake, or to create bots to replace people, Wrapify relies on both technology and people, and embraces each to make a proven idea work better in this new age. Car wraps have been around for a long time, but it’s taken Wrapify’s proprietary technology to create an “Uber for advertisers” that delivers a clear understanding of ROI and the ability to track your campaigns. Not to mention our popular SWARM option, which brings advertisers the power to dominate an event or small area with a fleet of Wrapify cars.

But we also involve the human element. Wrapify would be nowhere without our drivers. We’re proud to be helping everyday Americans supplement their income with hundreds of dollars each month. And there’s no shortage of interested Wrapify drivers!

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