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Promoting a Squeaky-Clean Image

Wrapped Hummer a big draw for Houston car wash.




It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s bubbly.

It’s the Bubble-ator, a converted Hummer H3 that blows bubbles, sports snazzy graphics, has its own external audio system, serves as an exceptional marketing tool for Houston-based Bubbles Car Wash, and, bottom line: It’s a head turner.

“We were looking for a way to make Bubbles Car Wash stand out, and more specifically, to collect database information from potential customers,” says marketing consultant Doug Harris, owner of Creative Animal, which helped spawn the creation of the vehicle.

“Most promotional vehicles simply use a color wrap with dramatic colors. The Bubble-ator adds the three-dimensional elements of the sculpted roof molding, plus the free-flowing bubbles. It stimulates honking horns and waving kids. And when it’s used as a stationary display, it provides the perfect backdrop for a photo opp.”

To implement the project, Harris enlisted marketing firm MPlus Group, which designed the graphics, and Display Graphics ( for the print and install. Display Graphics, also headquartered in Houston, used its HP Designjet 9000s printer with HP 790 solvent inks to output the image onto Oracal 3951GRA vinyl with Oraguard 290G gloss cast laminate, as well as Clear Focus ClassicVue perforated window film and Oraguard 290F clear laminate (along with a GBC Falcon 60 laminator). The 275-square-foot wrap took three hours to print and two installers eight hours to install.
The 3-D “bubbles” on the roof were hand carved from a single piece of polystyrene and help conceal four actual bubble machines, which comprise some custom plumbing and a pump system.

“Coordinating production with the foam bubbles on the roof and making sure the painted foam bubbles coordinated with the printed film was one of the biggest challenges,” says Display Graphics president Lynn Creel, adding that sealing the areas where the graphics abutted the foam bubbles was particularly difficult as well.
The Bubble-ator made its 200th promotional appearance this past August.





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