GMR Marketing, Brookfield, Wis., built its most technologically advanced marketing vehicle to date for Sony PlayStation: A 68-foot-long climate-controlled truck is currently touring the U.S., making stops at major concerts, festivals and events where up to 50 people can play videogames simultaneously, free of charge.
The multimedia-equipped vehicle also allows sporting events and videos to be telecast on its giant screens, and it converts into a miniature outdoor "stadium" for large-scale videogame competitions drawing audiences of more than 200.
AOL AT LOLLAPALOOZA
A 48-foot roving America Online truck created by GMR is also on the move, traveling to 30 cities in conjunction with Lollapalooza, one of the summer's biggest alternative music festivals.
The No. 1 computer online service's mobile marketing vehicle lets consumers explore the Internet free of charge, as well as play music on digitized turntables and leave their names and photos on a virtual graffiti wall.
A smaller rival to GMR is fast-growing St. Louis-based Pro Motion, which attributes its recent spate of successes to "strategic use of creativity" in lower-budget, high-impact promotions.
Its latest example rolls out this week with Comedy Central's "Save World Sanity" tour. The cable network is taking its "Neighborhood Sanity Watch" to New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities, via a refurbished 1972 Chevrolet El Camino equipped with TVs and a setup made to look like a TV tower and rotating satellite dish.
Pro Motion's Comedy Central effort is the latest in a series of "lower-budget" promotions executed for "well under $1 million-a lot less than some of the big, glitzy mobile promotions," said Steve Randazzo, 34, a former McCann-Erickson Worldwide account director who left in 1995 to launch Pro Motion with partner Lee Taylor, 43.
"Our niche is smaller vehicles with crazy ideas that make a big statement," Mr. Randazzo said. "Using an old El Camino is just weird, and it makes everybody laugh and that's what Comedy Central is going for."
Other Pro Motion creations include the new "Ironkids Park," a mobile, inflatable playground touring the U.S. through September touting IronKids Bread.
Pro Motion also created two Michelob/O'Doul's "Taste on Tour" trucks for Anheuser-Busch. Each combines a mahogany bar for dispensing beer samples with the "Michelob Golf Challenge" that allows visitors to take a swing in the truck's high-tech golf driving range.
An electronic system simulates driving the golf ball; prizes including a Taylor Made Burner Bubble driver and a Michelob golf bag are given to those with the longest
drives in contests at every stop.
"It's harder to target certain audiences, especially young adults and families with young kids, through traditional media," Mr. Randazzo said. "A growing number of marketers are getting more mileage out of meeting consumers in the places where they actually spend time-outside, at events and in neighborhoods."