by Digital Output Staff
Part 2 of 2
Graphics help turn ordinary surfaces extraordinary. From bus stations to trains themselves, the opportunities are limitless.
In the Northeast U.S., the Acela train by Amtrak is a fast and easy option for destinations like Boston, MA; New Haven, CT; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Wilmington, DE; and Washington, DC.
In addition to high speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, the Acela trains were utilized as high-end billboards for The History Channel. A print and installation company took on the project, wrapping 18,000 square feet of train exterior, mostly made up of metal and windows.
Due to the nature of the medium, high-speed trains, the project required a durable media that could withstand all of the elements that New England is notorious in providing.
Finding a Partner
The notion of wrapping the Acela trains was something Amtrak was always interested in doing, however they had to be choosy when selecting an advertising partner.
Steve Feder, president, Corporate Image Media, was tasked with helping Amtrak market its advertising opportunities. In a case study published by FLEXcon, Feder noted that he was in discussions for full train wraps with The History Channel and print partner for some time. The right application would create a buzz, but also boost revenue without undermining the public perception of the company. “We felt The History Channel was ideal for launching this advertising revenue possibility because they appeal to the business traveler that is found on the high-speed train services and The History Channel content is non-controversial,” he stated.
The application came to fruition when The History Channel chose to promote its 1968 with Tom Brokaw feature-length special, which was based on Brokaw’s book, Boom!: Voices of the Sixties, Personal Reflections of the 60s and Today.
The graphics featured images of key figures and events of this period, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, and Jimmy Hendrix.
For the creative, The History Channel sent high-resolution TIFF files to the print provider’s creative staff.
The wrap included 485 panels of graphics, 350 of which were solid vinyl and 135 used a see-through window material.
Production took one, eight-hour shift, completed with an HP Scitex TJ8300 on FLEXcon’s Bus and Train Wrap System, a CBS Outdoor approved system. The metal exterior of the train required a white printable base film—FLEXcon BUSart V 400 F White A-69 90 PFW BA, and luster overlaminate—BUSart OV5020L. The trains’ windows were wrapped with FLEXcon’s seeTHRU-sign STSWBF2 base film, a perforated white/black flexible vinyl.
The turnaround time for installation was just 48 hours.
“The train wrap was incredibly well received by everyone involved and considered a huge success. We are talking with advertisers for the next one,” commented Feder in FLEXcon’s case study of the wrap.
Fast Tracked Graphics
The History Channel and Amtrak collaborated to showcase the power of print to its business travelers on the Acela. Projects like this illustrate how well untraditional mediums can step up to provide an excellent marketing opportunity.
Feb2022, Digital Output