Branding: When a picture really does say a thousand words

by Lee Hopkins on November 5, 2006 · 41 comments

in Uncategorized

I am known for sticking to my POV (point of view) that imagery should only support copy, not drive it.

That is because the vast majority of the population require ‘words’ to make sense of the imagery they see. They either ‘say’ the words in their head to themselves, or they read the copy that is presented in front of them.

However, there are rare instances where imagery needs no explanation, where it is able to proudly stand before its audience and proclaim its own sense of genius.

Thus I present to you seven amazing examples of when imagery gets it right and can stand alone without words, because the images are supported by cross-media advertising with sounds, words and movement.

Here are pictures of (European) trucks whose trailers are decorated to look like the sides are missing and the products they are hauling are inside.

The first one is of a bottle of beer and looks so real it is coming out the side of the trailer
a bottle of beer that looks real, like it is coming out the side of the trailer

The second is of a canvas tote bag
a canvas tote bag

The third is of Pepsi cases and they are all stacked on the ceiling, and the bottom of the trailer is empty (because the Pepsi is so ‘light’, you see…)
A stack of Pepsi Light cases

The fourth is of another truck with the windshield facing the back and there has been a driver painted in the driver’s seat looking back over his shoulder like he is driving backwards
Going backwards!

The fifth one is of an aquarium with fish swimming in it
Here fishy, fishy!

The sixth one is of a bookshelf with books lined up in it and a post-it-note with an advertisement on it, probably for the company that sells the books
Books galore!

The last one is for Pringles ‘Hot & Spicy’. The ‘inside’ of the trailer looks like it’s been through a fire
Fire!!!!

Absolutely brilliant!

————

Thanks, Bruce.


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  • http://da.vebrig.gs/ Dave

    Those are indeed perfect – but am I being unduly cynical in noticing that the truck looks awfully similar in each shot?

    Would love to see stuff like this on the roads, though it wouldn’t be beneficial to me concentrating on my driving!

  • http://da.vebrig.gs Dave

    Those are indeed perfect – but am I being unduly cynical in noticing that the truck looks awfully similar in each shot?

    Would love to see stuff like this on the roads, though it wouldn’t be beneficial to me concentrating on my driving!

  • Danielle

    Hey Lee,
    I just wanted to say hi, and tell you that I agree with you. These trucks would get my attention if I were to be driving by one. It kind of reminds of me of a couple other advertisements. The Chic-Fil-A billboards that have the cow statues changing the wording on the sign or painting the sign always get my attention and the billboards that were all black with white writing on them that said ‘”I can see you”- God’ or other clever things. I’m ashamed to say that I have no idea who did the second campaign, but I always enjoyed seeing them when I was driving somewhere. They gave me a sense of amusement.
    Hope all is well and thanks again for blogging!

  • Danielle

    Hey Lee,
    I just wanted to say hi, and tell you that I agree with you. These trucks would get my attention if I were to be driving by one. It kind of reminds of me of a couple other advertisements. The Chic-Fil-A billboards that have the cow statues changing the wording on the sign or painting the sign always get my attention and the billboards that were all black with white writing on them that said ‘”I can see you”- God’ or other clever things. I’m ashamed to say that I have no idea who did the second campaign, but I always enjoyed seeing them when I was driving somewhere. They gave me a sense of amusement.
    Hope all is well and thanks again for blogging!

  • http://www.geocities.com/claren44/radio.html Clarence Jones

    Bravo (again) Lee! I cannot believe that with all the intelligence & money corporations have they cannot grasp this concept: Every time someone sees a person or vehicle that is employed by you, that person or vehicle Represents you…your company, your brand, your very self. But, they do not get it. Guess it’s not hard to see why they don’t ‘get’ Social Media as well, eh?
    Love & Peace, Clarence

  • http://www.geocities.com/claren44/radio.html Clarence Jones

    Bravo (again) Lee! I cannot believe that with all the intelligence & money corporations have they cannot grasp this concept: Every time someone sees a person or vehicle that is employed by you, that person or vehicle Represents you…your company, your brand, your very self. But, they do not get it. Guess it’s not hard to see why they don’t ‘get’ Social Media as well, eh?
    Love & Peace, Clarence

  • http://stephanie2006.prblogs.org/ Stephanie

    Hey Lee,
    It is true that words aren’t always needed expecially when you have examples like those trucks. I haven’t seen anything like that here (down in Alabama) yet, but hopefully it will catch on. Images, such as the ones you presented, take branding to a whole new level and I think that this type of branding could be a great asset to any company or organization. These dramatic statements will surely be remembered by those passing by on the road or just seeing the trucks parked somewhere. Comapnies and organizations should take note and try this form of branding for there own endeavors.

  • http://stephanie2006.prblogs.org/ Stephanie

    Hey Lee,
    It is true that words aren’t always needed expecially when you have examples like those trucks. I haven’t seen anything like that here (down in Alabama) yet, but hopefully it will catch on. Images, such as the ones you presented, take branding to a whole new level and I think that this type of branding could be a great asset to any company or organization. These dramatic statements will surely be remembered by those passing by on the road or just seeing the trucks parked somewhere. Comapnies and organizations should take note and try this form of branding for there own endeavors.

  • Rachel S

    This is one of the coolest posts I have ever seen!When I first got to your blog I scrolled down and noticed the images and honestly didn’t quite get it until I took a closer look. I hope that the images don’t cause wrecks on the road! Some of them are quite distracting. I would be too busy staring at the truck that I might forget to watch the road. Good thing these are in Europe and not the U.S.

    Whoever thought of putting these images on the trucks are marketing geniuses. They would certainly get my attention, and I don’t think I will forget the products anytime soon. Rather than the normal tactics of advertisments and radio spots and press release and the like, companies should start exploring non-tradition mediums to advertise. It got my attention, and I know it would get others!

  • Rachel S

    This is one of the coolest posts I have ever seen!When I first got to your blog I scrolled down and noticed the images and honestly didn’t quite get it until I took a closer look. I hope that the images don’t cause wrecks on the road! Some of them are quite distracting. I would be too busy staring at the truck that I might forget to watch the road. Good thing these are in Europe and not the U.S.

    Whoever thought of putting these images on the trucks are marketing geniuses. They would certainly get my attention, and I don’t think I will forget the products anytime soon. Rather than the normal tactics of advertisments and radio spots and press release and the like, companies should start exploring non-tradition mediums to advertise. It got my attention, and I know it would get others!

  • Dallas Perry

    Ha! I loved these pictures you posted. Talk about clever advertising. I think my favorite one is the truck with the driver facing backwards. I wonder if it looks real on the road, I’m sure it gets double-takes all of the time. Thanks for the cool pictures.

  • Dallas Perry

    Ha! I loved these pictures you posted. Talk about clever advertising. I think my favorite one is the truck with the driver facing backwards. I wonder if it looks real on the road, I’m sure it gets double-takes all of the time. Thanks for the cool pictures.

  • Tyler H.

    Lee,
    These pics are great. Although my mom is not too computer-savvy, she will occasionally send me e-mails which contain pictures and videos just like this. Check out (http://gprime.net/images/sidewalkchalkguy/). I think his name is Julian Beever, really amazing stuff.
    This would be a great way to adversite, which I am sure people/companies/organizations do, but you don’t see this kind of creativity as much in the U.S. (at least in my opinion). Good Stuff!

  • Tyler H.

    Lee,
    These pics are great. Although my mom is not too computer-savvy, she will occasionally send me e-mails which contain pictures and videos just like this. Check out (http://gprime.net/images/sidewalkchalkguy/). I think his name is Julian Beever, really amazing stuff.
    This would be a great way to adversite, which I am sure people/companies/organizations do, but you don’t see this kind of creativity as much in the U.S. (at least in my opinion). Good Stuff!

  • Pingback: The problem with cool pictures on trucks. at Stoked Brands()

  • http://allanjenkins.typepad.com/ Allan Jenkins

    I don’t want to rain on the parade, but I think there’s some really good Photoshopping at work here.

  • http://allanjenkins.typepad.com Allan Jenkins

    I don’t want to rain on the parade, but I think there’s some really good Photoshopping at work here.

  • Patrick

    A picture is worth a thousand words. But a 3-D image on the side of diesel trucks may cause a thousand wrecks. But the idea is clear. Imagery is important in a supportive aspect. I suppose what I gather from the pictures, first without reading the post is that, in advertising for products, the image should be very attractive and interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like these ‘doctored’ photos, but if it were a reality, I’m sure they would have an affect on their products.

  • Patrick

    A picture is worth a thousand words. But a 3-D image on the side of diesel trucks may cause a thousand wrecks. But the idea is clear. Imagery is important in a supportive aspect. I suppose what I gather from the pictures, first without reading the post is that, in advertising for products, the image should be very attractive and interesting. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like these ‘doctored’ photos, but if it were a reality, I’m sure they would have an affect on their products.

  • http://www.impactiviti.biz/ Steve Woodruff

    Having clever visuals is a great way to generate recognition. In the United States, the Sealy mattress trucks are a great example. One wasted company asset is the UPS truck, with its pathetic taglines – thousands of wasted billboards!

  • http://www.impactiviti.biz Steve Woodruff

    Having clever visuals is a great way to generate recognition. In the United States, the Sealy mattress trucks are a great example. One wasted company asset is the UPS truck, with its pathetic taglines – thousands of wasted billboards!

  • http://www.loveliestvillage.org/journal Danielle W

    Hi Lee!
    If a lot of these trucks were on the roads in the U.S. the number of wrecks would increase with out a doubt. I know I would be distracted by the trucks! However, I think the idea is brilliant. Things like billboards, or advertisements on trucks need to be quick attention getters. We can’t be expected to read long taglines while we’re driving past at 70 mph.
    Like Tyler, these pictures reminded me of the ‘sidewalk chalk guy’ The ability to make flat pictures/drawings look 3-D is amazing.
    Very interesting and creative advertising!

  • http://www.loveliestvillage.org/journal Danielle W

    Hi Lee!
    If a lot of these trucks were on the roads in the U.S. the number of wrecks would increase with out a doubt. I know I would be distracted by the trucks! However, I think the idea is brilliant. Things like billboards, or advertisements on trucks need to be quick attention getters. We can’t be expected to read long taglines while we’re driving past at 70 mph.
    Like Tyler, these pictures reminded me of the ‘sidewalk chalk guy’ The ability to make flat pictures/drawings look 3-D is amazing.
    Very interesting and creative advertising!

  • Stacey

    I agree with Allan — there is a good deal of photoshopping here. Look at the background — they are almost all the same. Also, Europe generally uses smaller trucks to transport items, not the full size that we use here.

    Interesting concept, though……

  • Stacey

    I agree with Allan — there is a good deal of photoshopping here. Look at the background — they are almost all the same. Also, Europe generally uses smaller trucks to transport items, not the full size that we use here.

    Interesting concept, though……

  • Elizabeth Wood Rodgers

    I loved these pictures! They are funny and a creative way to advertise. Love new ideas like this, thanks for showing it to us!

  • Elizabeth Wood Rodgers

    I loved these pictures! They are funny and a creative way to advertise. Love new ideas like this, thanks for showing it to us!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day everyone.

    Yes, I had a sneaking suspicion they were photoshopped in some way, but the idea is fascinating. And if the ‘chalk guy’ can do such amazing work (which he can) then I’m sure some enterprising graphic artist can equally create similarly compelling and eye-wateringly beautiful creations. Let’s not forget the power of trompe l’oile paintings! – http://leehopkins.net/2006/08/31/a-picture-says-a-thousand-words/

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    G’day everyone.

    Yes, I had a sneaking suspicion they were photoshopped in some way, but the idea is fascinating. And if the ‘chalk guy’ can do such amazing work (which he can) then I’m sure some enterprising graphic artist can equally create similarly compelling and eye-wateringly beautiful creations. Let’s not forget the power of trompe l’oile paintings! – http://leehopkins.net/2006/08/31/a-picture-says-a-thousand-words/

  • Due Diligence
  • Due Diligence
  • http://allanjenkins.typepad.com/ Allan Jenkins

    Awwww… “oh for dumb” as they say in Minnesota. Thanks, Due Diligence, I should have checked at Snopes.

    Hopkins!!!!

    Allan

  • http://allanjenkins.typepad.com Allan Jenkins

    Awwww… “oh for dumb” as they say in Minnesota. Thanks, Due Diligence, I should have checked at Snopes.

    Hopkins!!!!

    Allan

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Awwww, but Mr Jenkins, loook what brilliant conversation they created around the globe!!! :-)

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Awwww, but Mr Jenkins, loook what brilliant conversation they created around the globe!!! :-)

  • Due Diligence

    You’re welcome, Allan. If it seems too wonderful-incredible-shocking to be true, I tell people to snope it before passing it around. Nine times out of ten it is an urban legend or at least not what it appears. (In this case digital images rather than actual trucks and ads.)

    Anyhow,those pictures have been floating around the Internet-globe for about a year. Guess they took a while to drive into this blog.

  • Due Diligence

    You’re welcome, Allan. If it seems too wonderful-incredible-shocking to be true, I tell people to snope it before passing it around. Nine times out of ten it is an urban legend or at least not what it appears. (In this case digital images rather than actual trucks and ads.)

    Anyhow,those pictures have been floating around the Internet-globe for about a year. Guess they took a while to drive into this blog.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    The funny thing is that I have been telling friends for years that those emails that go around saying “there is a nasty virus, even Microsoft have announced it on their website” and “forward this email around the world, Microsoft have said they will donate $5 for every email that comes back to them” as massive hoaxes, but twice in two years I myself have come unstuck.

    Silly ol’ me!!

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    The funny thing is that I have been telling friends for years that those emails that go around saying “there is a nasty virus, even Microsoft have announced it on their website” and “forward this email around the world, Microsoft have said they will donate $5 for every email that comes back to them” as massive hoaxes, but twice in two years I myself have come unstuck.

    Silly ol’ me!!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, DD, for being the voice of ‘truth’ in this matter. This is what makes the blogosphere so damned compelling and wonderful!

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, DD, for being the voice of ‘truth’ in this matter. This is what makes the blogosphere so damned compelling and wonderful!

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