June 10, 2004

ATM Wraps

Reviving the ATM wrap by Ann All

Reviving the ATM wrap
by Ann All, editor 10 Jun, 2004

One of the challenges of ATM advertising was establishing a meaningful rate card for agencies, which typically measure ad campaigns by how many people view them.

Television, radio and print media all have established systems for gauging the size of their audiences. While most deployers tried to sell ad agencies on a combination of transaction volumes and foot traffic at ATM sites, some agencies questioned whether passersby really noticed ATMs.

There seems little doubt, however, of the high visibility of wraps, sheets of vinyl applied to ATM toppers, the machines themselves or even kiosks or enclosures.

ATM owners appear to be taking a new look at wraps -- not as a revenue generator but as a way of increasing exposure and perhaps attracting people to the machines.

"You take a self-service machine which has had a limited ability to be used as a branding vehicle, and you make it a real attention getter," said Al Tiley, chief executive of Companion Systems, which has installed wraps for a number of clients including JP Morgan Chase and Visa International.

Tiley said that virtually any piece of photo-ready art work can be turned into a durable wrap for a cost ranging from "a few hundred dollars" for a topper to $3,000 for an entire drive-up ATM enclosure. While the price may seem high at the upper end of the range, Tiley said it's less expensive than hiring painters to produce traditional versions of comparable graphics.

The wraps are "quite durable" and should last for several years, though they are susceptible to cuts made with sharp objects, Tiley said. "That will end up looking like paint that's been scratched."

As evidence of wraps' resilience, he noted some of the other punishing environments in which they are used -- for example, on city buses.

Wraps also provide a consistency that can't be duplicated by using painters, said Steve Korte, an accessory product manager for Diebold Direct, the manufacturer's marketing group, which has worked with Companion on several projects involving wraps.

For Penn State Federal Credit Union, Companion produced an enclosure covered from top to bottom in a wrap that makes the kiosk resemble a bucolic field of flowers -- despite the fact that it sits in the middle of a parking lot. Paula Walter, the FI's administrator of ATM operations, said the theme was chosen because of the machine's location, at a complex that frequently hosts agricultural events.

Companion created whimsical wraps for Chase to use at co-branded ATMs located at the Universal Studios theme parks. "We got quite a kick out of" a Chase/Universal Studios wrap covered with an in-your-face Woody Woodpecker, Tiley said.

< _IMAGE _ >
A wrap makes this exterior ATM enclosure, seen here in the warehouse before shipping, resemble a bucolic field of flowers -- despite its eventual location in a parking lot.

For Visa International, wraps used on ATM enclosures during the Olympics featured images of athletes.

Brian Hartline, president and chief executive of Nova Savings Bank, said the FI hoped to help instill customer loyalty with two ATM wraps it rolled out late last year. A wrap on an ATM at Villanova University features college colors and the Wildcat mascot, while another at a busy exterior machine near Nova's Philadelphia headquarters looks like the Philly skyline.

Hartline said the wraps were worth their cost of $500 to $700 each.

"I think they give us a little edge," he said. "We wanted to catch the attention of potential users and create a loyalty factor with Villanova students and with Philadelphians. We're a local bank, and we like to emphasize that in our marketing."

Hartline said Nova will consider using more wraps in heavily trafficked areas that are conducive to loyalty branding. "Campuses of any sort are a perfect example."

While one-of-a-kind images are eye catching, FIs can also leverage logos and images they use elsewhere, said Diebold Direct's Korte.

"Many financial institutions are fairly well invested in graphic images they use in their marketing campaigns. Wraps give them the ability to integrate those graphics and make their ATMs part of their campaigns," he said.

FIs, known for their conservative marketing bent, have not widely embraced wraps. For that reason, Korte said, they will garner more attention for the FIs that use them.

"So many financial institutions view still view their ATMs as gray boxes which bear no resemblance to the rest of their identity," he said. "So those using wraps are going to stand out that much more."

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Posted by Craig at June 10, 2004 07:05 PM