May '16

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50 • RV PRO • MAY 2016 rv-pro.com I n today's competitive business environment, it's all about the marketing. And out on the dealership sales lot, there's an oth- erwise silent partner shouting, "Come look at me! Look at me, me, me!" That partner is the graphics package on each and every RV out there, and while it isn't going to close the sale, that particular combination of decorative paint or vinyl is there with the expec- tation that it will catch the eye of a would-be buyer and convince that person to step inside and learn more. It's a lot to ask – especially when the competition to sell a graphics package to an OEM for a new model is fierce, changes will probably be subtle, and the bottom line is always a consideration. Eye on the Prize Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but for those com- panies that sell graphics packages to the RV industry, it's a bit like choosing the best hair, dress and makeup to catch the judges' eyes at a beauty pageant. "Generally, when we are working with a manufacturer, they're looking for graphics for the outside that will bring people into their units," says Melissa Vitali, general manager of Graphix Unlimited in Breman, Ind. "It's all about attracting buyers." "They want something new and exciting and different," agrees Michele Daly, general manager at Apex Graphics in Elkhart, Ind., "They say the graphics get them to come to the unit and then go inside. If it catches their eye, they'll look further into it." However, to say that this year's graphics are going to be appre- ciably different than last year's is to go against convention. Dale Poling, vice president of sales for Racine, Wis.-based Burlington Graphic Systems (BGS), says while every RV maker is looking for something that hasn't been seen before, the changes are made in small steps that are only visible over time. "More than 15 years ago they had roll striping on them," he says. "Then they got into what I would call transitional shapes. From there, it went to more complicated printing of scenes. Now, the scenes are out, but we're seeing unique printing effects – some from the automotive industry – like grill patterns and the carbon fiber look." PHOTO BY GRAPHIX UNLIMITED A Graphic Statement Suppliers work hard to provide RV manufacturers with designs that are eye-catching – but not too far removed from what's popular. By K. Schipper Graphix Unlimited and other suppliers use high-tech printers to create detailed graphics for RV exteriors. Graphics suppliers say manufacturers' goal with RV graphics is to get customers' attention and bring them into the unit.

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