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Sure, it's "free" advertising, but...


Old King Log
Staff member
Like most band folks, I own a trailer. We bought a trim little, 4' x 4' x 6' custom box trailer with a wide rear door that hinges towards the curb/kerb side, way back in 2008 when i retired. We purchased it from a central Texas firm that builds trailers to order, and we are quite happy with the end result. (At the same time, we gave up our Toyota Sienna van for a smaller, but still capacious, Scion xB). Both the trailer and the Scion are in a blinding white color, a color I chose with an eventual advertising wrap in mind.

For those stuck in the last century, wrapping of vehicles (both powered and un-powered) is quite popular these days. Companies wrap their cars and trailers with the most intricate of designs, all focused towards attracting the attention of potential customers. They can even print wraps that will layer over the side and rear windows, while still allowing you to see out.

Our plans were for sides and rear of the trailer to be wrapped with some version of our logo (see my website for an example), the band's name, web address and contact telephone numbers, and possibly adding a door sign on the car. Pretty simple to lay out, using our standard graphics and letting the wrap place blow it up to the right size.

I was all ready to take the trailer over to get the work done when I visited my good friend Mike Brooks up in Saint Louis MO, proprietor of Embee Ideas Manufacturing, the firm that makes the fronts made out of "plastic cardboard". He also happens to be married to a girl with whom I went to high school.

(If you don't know about these, pay his website a visit at http://www.embeeideas.com/index.htm - they are a first rate product that is light weight (a fifth to an eighth of the weight of those made of fiber board or Plywood), flexible and easy to set up and tear down.)

After transacting our business (and taking a ride in his new smart Passion car - he used it for part of his clown duties with the Shriners), we were talking over what was going on music wise when I happened to mention that we had finally bought a trailer, after years of grousing about it. I explained how I was going to have it wrapped, whereupon he paused thoughtfully before saying "I'd not do that if I were you."

Putting aside that he could never be me because he is a trombone player and I am not, I asked why, whereupon he told me a tale of real woe.

A group that he was familiar with in the Saint Louis area had taken their band trailer, similar to mine if somewhat larger, and had their logo and contact info painted on same. They then proceeded to go out for a job, stopping for a lunch on the way.

While they were wolfing down their cheeseburgers and beer, some opportunistic young fellows saw the trailer (parked in an out of the way portion of the lot), surmised the contents from the information on the side of same, busted off the lock and looted it of their sound system and several instruments (all stringed, of course), plus the group's very expensive synth. All in all, it was a multi-thousand dollar loss (which was uninsured - another dumb move that some musicians persist in making).

Push comes to shove, your trailer with "XYZ Band of Renown" emblazoned on the side, along with your telephone number, acts as more than a rolling billboard for your group - it also is a huge sign pointing to the trailer and saying "Hey, young folks - more than likely this flimsy trailer contains beacoup electronic equipment - the free musical equipment store is open!"

Taking this to heart, when we returned home I polled the local groups, asking them if they had ever gotten a job from the ad on their car or trailer. Only one of the eight said that they had, and that instance involved someone approaching them while they were unloading.

So, no wrap for the trailer and no wrap for the car. I put the money budgeted for this into advertising (it funded two direct mail campaigns, one of which turned up a full boat job), and we continue to sail off to performances in our white tinted anonymity.

Words to the wise, and all of that. Your mileage may vary, people may be more honest where you operate. Yeah, right, sure...


Staff member
I'd have to agree. I haul my PA in my gas sucking Ford Expedition with the four corner load leveling suspension. Even with tinted windows, you can still tell that there is some serious equipment stacked up in there. If I stop for a bite to eat on the way home, I try to choose an all-nighter with lots of windows, and park it where I can see it. I've even asked another band member to "park me in", so someone doesn't just steal the whole vehicle. Even with insurance (and I do carry a separate policy for all my equipment), the disruption and PITA of accounting for everything and trying to replace it would be a nightmare. Once a year, I spread out all of my equipment in my studio and take lots of pictures, burn the pics to a DVD and put it in the safe deposit box.

I've got to add my two thumbs up for Mike Brooks too. A great business concept, and a pleasure to deal with. Anyone considering the purchase of fronts (especially us old geezers) should strongly consider his product.

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
If you do a search of other music boards, you will find some discussion of this and some interesting suggestions on how to label the trailer to ensure it will not be molested.


Old King Log
Staff member
"Contains rotting beef carcasses"?

"Yamaha - maker and distributor of the world's finest alto clarinets - factory direct to you"?

"Warning: contains church hymnals and pews" might work, but we went for the default nothing.

I lock up the ball hitch, have a formidable lock on the hitch pin, boot one of the wheels and put a ball lock in the hitch whenever it's unhitched, and have lock nuts on the wheels, as well as a substantial lock on the swinging door. But, when it's loaded with the goods, overwatch is the most effective deterrent that I can think of.
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