Mac Nagaswami looks tired, but he’s still energetic, in that way that founders of rapidly growing companies tend to be. “If there’s a next time,” he says of Carvertise’s top-to-bottom rebrand that is officially launching this today, “I’m hiring other people to do it.”
He might be joking. The company’s makeover — including a new logo and tagline (“Dominate the Streets”), professional photo shoots, new staff and bold new car wrap designs — was done entirely in-house, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else being as passionate about the brand as Nagaswami is.
The “rolling billboard” company, originally called PenguinAds, was born in 2012, while Nagaswami was still a student at the University of Delaware.
In those early days, a wrapped car looked something like this:
Today, a full-wrap ad looks like this:
As the wrap designs became cooler — designs that people would actually want on their cars, rather than sacrificing car coolness for extra cash — the company’s simpler branding became less and less representational of what they were doing.
“This looks like a startup website,” Nagaswami said, scrolling through the old site. And it did. It didn’t reflect the fact that Carvertise is now a company that is growing nationally with its startup days behind it.
The new website, on the other hand, feels like a national company’s website. The photography, by Sam Suh, is slick and dynamic. For the photo of the AAA wrap shot above, 12th Street near Wilmington Hospital was closed off for shooting one night.
“Like a movie,” Nagaswami said. “That allowed us to do a long exposure for the light effect.” Other shoots, including the team photo, were done in an airplane hangar.
And it’s not just the website and aesthetic that’s changed.
Carvertise has expanded to 12 employees, is in the midst of a move to a new office in the Hercules Building, with an expanded shop. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that everything, from sales to design to printing to installation, is done on-site. The evolution of Carvertise car wraps comes from doing all the work themselves and innovating as they go, says Nagaswami.
Meanwhile, the number of registered Carvertise drivers across the country has exploded, mostly through online word-of-mouth in “easy moneymaking” circles, where the legitimacy of the company and no cost to drivers makes it an attractive prospect (cars outside of the Wilmington/Philadelphia metro area are wrapped at partner locations). The number of advertisers keeps growing, too, as the designs become more eye-catching.
With its rebrand in place, Carvertise is partnering with Delaware Innovation Week 2017, which includes a fleet of 10 cars wrapped for #DIW17 (by the way, if you spot one, snap a photo, and post it to social media with the #DIW17 hashtag, you’ll get a free ticket to a DIW17 event). More on that later.
— Technical.ly Delaware (@technicallyDE) October 9, 2017