Revised model name designations

In an effort to reduce confusion, all Spark product names have been revised to more easily describe the size of the truck's LED screens.

Previously, Expo, Promo, and Mondo series bodies all used names like Expo XL, Promo XW, or Mondo XM. The letters at the end related to the size of the screen. We've eliminated the confusing XM, XL, XE, XW nomenclature and replaced it with a simple number which corresponds to the width of the side screens.

Here are the new model designations:

Expo 6 (formerly Expo XE)
Expo 8 (formerly Expo XL)
Promo 10 (formerly Promo XM)
Promo 12 (formerly Promo XL)
Promo 15 (formerly Promo XW)
Mondo 14 (formerly Mondo XM)
Mondo 18 (formerly Mondo XL)

Customers can choose from a base P6 model or upgraded P4/P4.8 configuration in all body sizes.

New PH4 LED modules

PH6 vs PH4 LED module comparison
The new 4mm LED modules we're using in our Expo digital video truck models are incredible. Compared to the standard 6mm modules, each module has 2.25x the number of pixels on board. More pixels means a richer, more detailed image on our LED screens. Of course, Spark's LED displays are all manufactured specifically for outdoor use, with super high brightness and integrated contrast shutters.

All About the Pixels

PH4.8 outdoor led module (1)
In 2005, we set up our first prototype LED video truck, years before actually bringing one to market. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but due to the very high cost of LED display technology at the time, it would have been necessary to price that 2005 model truck with 12mm LED display technology at $500,000. Needless to say, we put the digital truck project on hold.

Two years ago, after technology improved and component prices dropped, Spark finally converted all products to digital, and offered a choice of 10mm and 8mm LED displays. Today, in 2016, almost all Spark products use 6mm and 4.8mm LED technology. We get very excited about Read More...

Looking back, into the future

Since 2002, Spark has manufactured a long list of mobile advertising truck models.

Here’s the list:

Local Co-op Business Model

In your city, there may be fifty or more local McDonald’s, Subway sandwich locations, and as many of the various restaurants under the Yum Brands umbrella (KFC, Long John Silver, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut). In fact, in every metropolitan area, these major franchises are grouped into local advertising buying groups or “cooperatives”. So in addition to advertising that is purchased nationally by the franchisor, the local coop group purchases advertising that is only displayed in one specific territory, region, or metro area.

If you own several Spark promotional vehicles, you can enter into a long term contract with the local restaurant coop group that will give that group exclusive use of one or more of your vehicles to promote their brand. It will be a very affordable ad buy for the franchise group, and a profitable venture for you. Here’s how it might work for a local McDonald’s group: Read More...

Can it play live video? Yes, but...

Since we transitioned to our all-digital-video lineup of promotional vehicles, the number one question has been, “Can it show live video?” The answer is a resounding, “yes, but don’t do that.”

Then we stop and wait for a perplexed series of questions.

Let’s back up a little: it’s taken us over ten years to build Read More...

Designing Great Mobile Ad Content

Many Spark owners use Spark’s in-house printing services for their ad design and scrolling poster printing needs. The company has seen thousands of individual ads come through the system since 2002. As one might imagine, some ads have been really great, while many that would qualify for the advertising hall of shame.

Jump to the PDF document "Design Tips for Mobile Advertising Success" if you don't care to read all of today's post. Read More...

Shared-Use Business Model

In 1993, a french company, called Mobil Affiche, developed one of the first mobile scrolling advertising systems, and began deploying the early dedicated advertising vehicles (DAV) in Europe. Their trucks featured a unique 7-poster system with 5’ x 8’ displays on three sides. Two years later, the trivision advertising truck was invented by Delroy Cowan. Cowan’s 1995 invention combined an Isuzu NPR truck with a custom truck bed and three trivision signs that he purchased from a European manufacturer. His two trucks were the first multi-image dedicated advertising vehicles in the USA. Years later, similar, but refined DAV concepts appeared from companies calling themselves Brands In Motion, Billboards in Action, and Admobile.

The DAV concepts from each of these mobile ad pioneers were different, but they all championed what has become the shared-use model of mobile advertising. Read More...

Single-Client Business Model


The first time you saw a multi-image DAV on the road, you may have been fascinated with the light-up, changing ads. The impression is so effective, that many motorists can recall the names of specific advertisers long after the DAV campaign ends. But for some, seeing a DAV represents the spark of a new business venture. You’re probably reading this blog because you’ve experienced that spark.

Building a Rolodex full of satisfied advertising clients is challenging under the best of conditions. But this post is not about building a thick portfolio of customers quickly. It’s about launching a profitable mobile advertising business with just one great client relationship. World domination comes later. Read More...

Fun With Calculators

It’s easy to get excited about the value proposition that comes with owning a mobile advertising vehicle. Playing with a calculator can generate some eye-popping numbers. Read More...

Harness the Quality

We like to answer the question, “How is the construction of Spark truck bodies different from just cutting holes in an old box truck and wiring up my own video screens?” It’s all about the details. Some of the details are hard to see in a picture online or in a brochure, but up close its evident that Spark goes to great lengths to make the bodies look more like something that comes from Toyota or Ford, and less like some of the do-it-yourself advertising contraptions that one might find sold on Ebay.

Ordinary box truck bodies are covered with exposed bolts and rivets, and their body panels are joined with simple white caulk. No amount of shiny trim or diamond-plated panels can cover up that hand-fabricated Read More...

Free Gas For Life

In recent years, the price of gasoline has topped $5 per gallon in some locations. AAA reports that the rising price of fuel has finally started changing driving behavior, as American consumers are driving less for the first time in decades. But if your business depends on a single vehicle or a fleet of vehicles, the price of gas can be crushing. Read More...

Bright Idea

David Hoheisel, Spark Factory Rep from Columbus, Ohio, reminded us of a feature that almost every Expo owner gets for free.

90% of pickup trucks have a light over the back window that is used to illuminate the truck's pickup bed at night. Dave discovered the switch for that light on the dash of his Toyota Tundra / Expo 7 demo truck. When he turned it on, the light lit up the entire front of the Expo body. The Expo box is usually about 10 - 12 inches taller than the pickup cab, and with the flick of a switch, Hoheisel discovered that he could draw extra attention to the truck. He has taken advantage of that space by wrapping it with an ad for his business.

It's a great free feature that will give all Expo owners even more attention than they bargained for! Read More...

Event-Focused Business Model

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Many people experience the impact of mobile advertising for the first time at sporting events, conventions, or trade shows. Unlike some of the other dedicated advertising vehicle business models, using DAVs for short term events is a proven model with hundreds of available case studies that prove its effectiveness and value to clients.

While advertising agencies can be reluctant to include mobile advertising in their long term media plans for their best clients, they are often comfortable recommending mobile media for a variety of short term event-base scenarios. If you’re considering purchasing one or more DAVs or MUVs (dual purpose marketing/utility vehicles) you should be prepared when prospective clients ask for information about using the trucks for event marketing.

Business Model Article Series

This is the first in a series of posts about the many different business models one can use in a mobile advertising business. This series focuses exclusively dedicated advertising vehicles or DAVs, excluding the older 2 sided, flat "mobile billboard" trucks. The type of multi-image technology used — scrolling, trivision, video, trained monkeys holding up a series of posters —doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the DAV has the capability to show a series of different advertisements on two or more sides of the vehicle. Read More...

Ad Truck Regulation

Admobile VA
Customers often ask about regulations that govern the use of mobile advertising vehicles.

Let's back up for a minute. Regulation is not a problem for 95% of Spark's customers. It is a concern though, but it comes down to two different concepts. Either you're using a mobile advertising vehicle to promote your own business or you're using the vehicle to operate a mobile advertising company.

The first case is easy. If you purchase a mobile advertising truck and use it in the ordinary operation of your business, we are not aware of a single local ordinance that will prevent you from using the vehicle to promote your own business. Read More...