The Red Lobster Race Car: Looking back at classic vehicle marketing

A vinyl  car wrap is useful for vehicles that your business manages, but they can also be tailor-made for other cars with a unique purpose. A recent post on Racer looked at a vintage example of effective marketing via a design from more than 30 years ago that still resonates to this day.

That would be the special race car that was painted to resemble a giant lobster for a racing series in the 1980's. According to the source, the seafood restaurant Red Lobster, which had already used vehicles to market the brand's logo, turned to Jack Deren Automotive Racing Enterprises to adorn a car it was sponsoring with a recognizable lobster image. The result translated this idea into an intimidating logo that stretched over the body of the vehicle.

Since then, the car has become something of a legend, described as "iconic" by Jack Deren. He said that the claws of the lobster were specifically designed to fit over the front tirewells in 1983.

"The first time it was done by the Red Lobster artist," he said. "They wanted me to take templates of it in case we needed to paint it again. I tried that, but it didn't work out. After about the second paint job, I did it by hand – masked it off and sprayed it."

While most companies are likely aware of the short-term advantages of custom vehicle wraps (better brand presence, unique logos), a truly inspired marketing campaign will have a long life and gather many fans over the years. Each wrap should thus be shaped specifically to fit the vehicle it will be on, as this could suggest new possibilities that are memorable in the long run.