How to Choose the Right Mobile Marketing Vehicles

Mobile tours are perfect for targeting specific audiences large and small, whether rabid music fans at Coachella or dog lovers on Nantucket. Consumer and B2B brand marketers understand the power of a solid mobile activation concept—the core of which is the vehicle itself. So if you’re thinking about hitting the road, here are a few tips on choosing or designing the right mobile marketing vehicles that drive experiences, build brand affinity and get results.

Know your venues

Be sure your mobile experience literally fits the space at each tour stop. Neighborhood block parties and football stadium activations each require very different mobile platforms. The size and type of your mobile unit is determined by activation concept and footprint, size and type of tour events as well as factors such as capability to navigate tight environments. Sparks recently completes the second year of a mobile tour for a B2B data company. Tour stops are large corporate parking lots with easy ingress/egress and no parking costs. These important factors drive the choice of a large, custom expandable trailer as an activation platform.

Things to keep in mind

  • Are your tour stops public or private venues?

  • Are there costs associated with the space?

  • What is the square footage of your typical tour stop?

  • Is the experience on asphalt, gravel or grass? If the location is not a smooth surface, a lighter more nimble vehicle is a better choice.

  • What regulations may impact your mobile unit or strategy? Local, city, and state regulations may preclude the use of certain vehicles.


Mobile marketing vehicles are an extension of your brand. Choice of vehicle type affects message regardless of the activation concept or exterior branding. For example, a polished aluminum Airstream conveys an entirely different vibe than a painted food truck. Exterior and extended branding at tour stops is a given. However, think about how to maximize the impact of the vehicle between stops as well.

The No Kid Hungry mobile tour leverages a classic school bus concept to dramatically juxtapose a positive educational icon with the alarming message of school-aged kids going hungry in America. The exterior design features calls to action and memorable messages: “1 in 6 Kids Will Face Hunger This Year,” and “We Are #Hangry—Find Out Why” as well as the brand URL.

Customizations add exclusivity

In the FOMO era there’s nothing as powerful as offering fans an experience they can’t get anywhere else. There are many standard, brand-ready mobile marketing vehicles that facilitate effective mobile experiences. However, smartly packaged custom vehicles or branded concept cars create exclusivity that diehard fans crave. Mobile marketing vehicle customizations that incorporate elements such as licensed products or the latest music technology take road tours to the next level.

Adult Swim promotes the long awaited third season of Rick and Morty with a custom character mobile unit that doubles as a pop-up shop. The experience features limited edition, licensed products available only on tour—the kind of swag passionate fans do anything to get their hands on.

The LEGO Star Wars BrickHeadz #GoBrick zone, on the inner roadway at the entrance of New York Comic Con, is anchored by a big, colorful, eye-catching, brand-wrapped LEGO Food Truck. Fans line-up to purchase one of only 1,000 limited edition, individually numbered, NYCC exclusive design packs.

Exclusive, custom-built experiences can start with a simple trailer as a base. Mattress brand Casper travels the country with two custom designed “Napmobiles.” Each 3D branded trailer is equipped with four inviting, well-appointed nap pods where consumers take a test snooze to demo the products. To entice nappers to linger longer, Casper includes simple amenities like pod temperature control, privacy blinds and an option to listen to a bedtime story like The Princess and the Pea via a bedside phone.

Choosing mobile marketing vehicles for brand tours doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Plan ahead, identify clear objectives and team with the right partners. Whether you customize a brand-ready vehicle, start with a simple trailer or build a custom ride, choose the mobile unit that best fits the experiential concept as well as the brand. We’ll see you on the road!

Check out Optimum Nutrition’s mobile tour pop-up shop designed and produced by Sparks.

Posted by John Ballard | Request as a Speaker