Road Ranger – SUV Wrap, Retail Merchandise

Road Ranger, a Midwestern chain of convenience stores and truck stops, initially contracted me via a local ad firm, DesignWerks, to design their company’s H2 Hummer SUV for tradeshow and travel purposes. Worked directly with the CEO and his executive marketing team— many cooks in the kitchen from the get-go with bad ideas that myself and DesignWerks’ sales rep couldn’t control. I was outnumbered on creative direction by executives in cheap Bergners suits.

“Fire! Lightning! Military Plane! America!”— as it was put to me during the second of many creative pitch meetings.

Bothered by their marketing approach when asked for an opinion, I clearly remember stating out of frustration:

“You’re an oil company— I don’t think lightning, fire, war planes, oil, gasoline, and any fuel for cars that you sell to your customers makes much design sense to put on your marketing materials. In this case, an SUV. Seems like an extremely patriotic but flammable idea that leads one like myself to a negative place for marketing. That’s my two cents.”

My two cents sort of worked, and I was able to steer them away from fire but not lightning. I got paid, and they were happy. However, this is a great example of Art Direction gone wrong. Road Ranger’s executive team clearly didn’t understand my marketing 101 perspective, and I didn’t understand their company’s base. In the end, they were right: Give the people what they want, America. We found common ground: America, freedom, gasoline.

RR’s executive marketing director contacted me again a few years later to direct and produce “white trash, eco-friendly merchandise”— as he put it to me. And so I did: I produced “white trash, eco-friendly merchandise.”

They loved it, I loathed it, and it didn’t end well for both parties. Doug, the Exec. Mktg. Dir., and the late CEO’s valiant efforts to undercut me on design license rights didn’t go their way. They didn’t want to pay for exclusive rights that would allow their company North American wholesale reproduction for retail purposes. I legally protected my rights and work from the get-go, which they didn’t want to pay for exclusivity on. Items that I created were never reproduced and sold for retail due to their negligence to honor a contract. America!

ClientRoad RangerServicesDirection, Design, Signage WrapYear2007Linkwww.roadrangerusa.com