You're sitting in your living room as a child, and you hear it. Faintly at first, and then gradually it grows stronger: The unmistakable, upbeat music of an ice cream van. It's coming, and your mouth is already watering for that cold, sweet, refreshing treat. You call your mum and run out to chase it down so you can buy your favourite frozen bar. 

Fast forward a few decades. If you ever hear that sound, you're instantly taken back to your youth and might even be tempted to indulge once more. 

Ice cream trucks certainly discovered a powerful formula for getting their customers to literally run to do business with them. Although they may always be the iconic store on wheels, that doesn't mean other companies can't have similar success with promotional vehicles – especially if they put all the right elements in place. 

Food trucks and beyond 

In many cities around the world, food trucks are gaining popularity, selling anything from restaurant-quality grilled cheese to smoothies to ethnic specialties. The convenience of a well-managed food truck draws customers for lunch, while enabling companies to pick up and move to prime locations during strategic time or rotate to keep interest fresh by providing variety. 

Brands also use vehicles to hit the road and spread their message. For example, the Planters NUTMobile is travelling around the United States, carrying brand ambassadors to speak at colleges, auto shows and other events. Shaped like a giant legume, the vehicle is eye-catching and the campaign involves plenty of puns to present a charming image of the emblematic Mr. Peanut. 

It's not just food, either. All sorts of companies have found success taking their products and services on the road. Even technology companies can present their offerings in decked-out caravans. These businesses create interesting, intriguing spaces to showcase their brand, whether they set up shop in remote locations, city centres, car parks, fairs or festivals.  

With almost endless options, organisations can choose places that enable them to reach previously inaccessible consumers, draw from high-density crowds or promote an exciting, fun aspect of their business.

Taking off the training wheels 

There is a strong difference, however, between simply taking your offerings on the road and really capitalising on varied locations. It comes down to knowing your audience and designing a great promotional display that captures their attention and conveys your message. 

To bring it full circle, what can you learn from the ice cream van? It appeals to multiple senses and creates something instantly recognisable. Drivers most likely choose their timing and location strategically, reaching out to their prime market segment: children. At the same time, the enterprise has a powerful tool in nostalgia that nudges parents to fund their kids' frosty desires.

With this sort of brilliant design, promotional vehicles can truly set companies on the path to success.