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ASI Promocar Hits The Open Road

Monday March 30, 2015 | Filed under: News About ASI

Sometimes, companies need to try a crazy idea and have a little fun. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, at least we get to say we tried something different.

With that in mind, ASI created an art car we dubbed the ASI Promocar – a 2002 Mazda Protégé our employees covered inside and out with an array of colorful promotional products, everything from logoed slinkys and stress balls to keychains and lanyards. Most of the items were generously donated by ASI suppliers.

Our moving billboard is part of a year-long public relations campaign called “Driving Serious Fun,” designed to spread the word about the industry’s creativity and ingenuity. In the past year, we’ve displayed the Promocar at ASI trade shows in Chicago, Orlando and Long Beach, CA. Everywhere we bring it, people gawk, smile, take pictures and ask questions. Yes, we say, it is street legal (anyone can turn their vehicle into an art car as long as you obey a few sensible rules) and no, those things don’t generally fly off, even at 60 mph (we used a lot of glue).

As much fun as it is, the Promocar serves a serious purpose: It opens up a conversation about promotional products and gives us a chance to brag about the low-cost, high-impact items that fuel a $21.5 billion industry to anyone who’ll listen.

Now, we’re giving the Promocar a real road test. Starting March 30, ASI’s PR manager, Dawn Marie, is driving it back to Pennsylvania from California, for a total of about 2,700 miles. From Los Angles, the car will stop in Flagstaff, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; and Floyd, Virginia before ending its trip in Stockton, New Jersey on or around April 8. The car will then return to ASI headquarters in Trevose, Pennsylvania.

Throughout the trip, she’s couchsurfing with locals whenever possible as a tie-in to the freebie concept the promo products industry is based upon.

Anyone who sees the car during its trip and posts a pic to social media with the hashtag #ASIpromocar can score a “Driving Serious Fun” T-shirt. Follow the car on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and on ASI’s website, www.asicentral.com.

Since everyone loves free stuff, of course we brought along giveaways. Hopefully, we’ll motivate end-users to consider advertising with promo products the next time they need to get the word out about something they’re passionate about, whether it’s a store opening, a charity 5K or even an employee wellness program. We’re also letting people sign the inside – on the dashboard, steering wheel, radio, doors and even the ceiling.

The reaction we get from kids is the best. They don’t question anything – they just have a ball touching it and yelling out “Look at the fun car!”

And, at a time when we conduct so much business electronically, it’s wonderful to meet people face-to-face – especially in a car that’s the epitome of ‘mobile’ advertising. Maybe we’ll even inspire a few distributors to create an art car of their own. It’s not only a conversation-starter, it’s literally an advertising vehicle.

Before we started this project, we researched art cars and consulted a number of expert enthusiasts like Costas Schuler, who covered his Mercedes with 10,000 pens, calling it the “Mercedes Pens.” Their advice pretty much came down to this: Use a lot of glue (GE Silicone II works wonders), make sure not to obstruct your sight lines or lights and be as creative as possible.

After gluing like crazy, we splattered the car with some bright colors and even put some Keith Haring swirls on some of the stress balls. We also painted a road on the hood and the roof to go with our “driving” theme.

If the most famous company art car of them all, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, collided with a Jackson Pollock painting, it might look something like the ASI Promocar. It’s always a work in progress. Sure, some people don’t get it. And that’s OK, too.

Our little Mazda already has 190,000 miles on it, and it’s a long trip from one end of the country to another. Since this is a low-budget project, if the car does break down along the way, we’ll call AAA and hope for the best. To date, we’ve only lost a few items, mostly because people can’t seem to resist pulling on things to see if they’re really stuck. We also made sure to only use lightweight plastic and foam items so even if something does come off, it can’t do any harm.

So far, Schuler has driven his art car over 270,000 miles – an inspiring number. Wish us luck and keep an eye out for the ASI Promocar. Honk if you love promo products!

Below are suppliers who generously donated items to the ASI Promocar:

  • Aakron Rule Corp., asi/30270
  • All-In-One, asi/34256
  • Ariel Premium Supply, asi/36730
  • Bullet, asi/42424
  • Chulani Promotional Products Inc., asi/45100
  • Digispec, asi/49716
  • Footprints USA, asi/55030
  • Hit Promotional Products, asi/61125
  • IDProductsource, asi/62088
  • Nationwide Promotions LLC, asi/73464
  • Norwood by BIC Graphic, asi/74400
  • Prime Line, asi/79530
  • PromoMatting, asi/35750
  • Zenith Promotions, asi/98980