Unusual promotional vehicles: The Zippo Car

AdWeek recently featured an article on a brand that has found ways to endure despite changes in taste and style. Cigarette smoking is perceived very differently now than it was in the 1950's and 60's, but one of the smoker's most recognizable accessories, the Zippo lighter, still enjoys an air of nostalgia and recognition.

The source notes that the image of the smooth, plain lighter and the sound it makes when flipped open are ingrained in the American public consciousness. It might seem like there's no feasible way to port that essence into a vehicle design, but the company did exactly that in the late 1940's with the creation of "the Zippo Car."

According to the official Zippo website, this car was first based on a Chrysler Saratoga, and the center was actually set up to look like a giant lighter, complete with a tiny flame. On the doors on each side, onlookers can see the simple brand name, Zippo, displayed in gold.

Since the brand has grown, it has also added a Zippo Jeep to the lineup. George Duke, Zippo's Chairman of the Board, described this development as one that makes sense for the image the business wishes to maintain.

"We could have chosen any number of vehicles for this project, but the Jeep was the most fitting," he said. "There are many parallels between our brands – American-made, rugged, tough and dependable. In addition, the nature of the Jeep makes it the ideal vehicle to help us promote and share all the great things we're doing with our Outdoor products."

Just because your brand might not seem like a natural fit for a promotional vehicle doesn't mean there isn't a novel idea waiting somewhere. Fleet wraps and other vehicle designs will turn normals cars, trucks or jeeps into recognizable extensions of your company name.