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Gear-Grinding Graphics

SpeedPro Imaging uses the floor as canvas for BMW invitation.




During the course of every PGA golf tournament, the sought-after players are inundated with hundreds of invitations from hungry marketers just dying to have a well-known player grace their event. To distinguish itself from the crowd, luxury-car maker BMW relied on creativity with a dose of quirkiness to ensure that its unconventional invite not only stood out, but landed a “yes” on the RSVP.

The goal: Get influential golfers into the seats of the BMW M-Series as part of a test-drive program called the Autobahn Country Club during the BMW Championship in Lemont, Illinois. BMW Golf, the company’s golf-marketing agency, teamed up with Raleigh, North Carolina’s marketing firm Baldwin& to develop a campaign sure to leave a mark.

The first round of attention-grabbing marketing tactics involved a rather peculiar gift: motor-oil-scented cologne created by Joanna Freeman of Virginia’s The Shave Den. Branded as 15-W-50, the cologne embodied the essence of the racetracks and got the motor running for the test-drive invitation to come. The players received the smell-binding treat in their lockers after the Deutsche Bank Championship. The bottle’s hangtag read: “Do you know what driving 195 mph feels like? Well, this is how it smells. Get to the BMW Championship a little bit early to take one of our M cars out for a spin at the Autobahn Country Club.”

Two weeks later, the players were greeted with a gear-grinding surprise – skid marks jolting out from the bathroom sinks of their hotel rooms, featuring another invitation to the event. To output the skid-mark floor graphics, Baldwin& contacted SpeedPro Imaging in Raleigh-Durham.

“Knowing the install would be handled by hotel staff, not a professional installation team, the challenge was finding media that was really easy to install and easy to remove,” says Jerry Parise, owner of SpeedPro Imaging RDU. “The other challenge was ensuring that the skid marks looked as realistic as possible, so we needed a clear material and to make sure the edges of the material were not visible. Plus, because the graphics would be installed in the bathroom, the last thing we wanted was something slippery.”

Finding the right supplies was a matter of trial and error, says Parise. The shop used the digital-image file to create several proofs on different media. Some of the proofs even ended up in SpeedPro’s own bathroom, where the shop got to see the shock value of the graphics for themselves.


Using its Roland XJ 640 and a Roland GX 500 for cutting, the shop printed the graphic in three parts: two 7.75 x 50-inch skid marks onto Avery Luster Transparent MPI2077; and a 8 x 5.5-inch text box onto 3M Scotchcal IJ40. Fellers Lamex laminate provided slip resistance. The floor invite read, “Before you hit the course, join us at the track to burn some rubber. BMW invites you to the Autobahn Country Club.”

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