Big Buck$ Café Case Study
Coordinators for FESPA Digital 2012 wanted to come up with a new and exciting way for attendees to see how wide an influence digital print has on our lives. This idea developed into the Big Buck$ Café, a pop-up cafe built on-site almost entirely from wide-format digital printing products created by FESPA exhibitors. Show attendees had the opportunity to enjoy lattes and surf the Internet in this fully-functional café that combined various substrates to create integrated marketing campaigns and unique environments demonstrating the comprehensive possibilities which exist for digital print applications. Examples of digital print applications incorporated in to the café included soft and rigid signage, floor graphics, printed furniture and interior décor.
10 exhibitors, including Visual Magnetics, were involved with this unique project. Exhibitors were excited by the prospect of displaying their media products in a simulation of a real-world environment beyond the typical tradeshow booth. All participating exhibitors were responsible for sourcing, printing, transporting and installing their own graphics, which was a major consideration for those companies who wished to be involved. Visual Magnetics was able to turn the whole project around – from inception through installation – in less than a week.
“This was the ideal project for Visual Magnetics to be involved with, as it really demonstrated our point that Visual Magnetics’ products are extremely versatile and can be installed or changed out quickly and efficiently without requiring extensive installation training or experience,” said Dan Halkyard, director of marketing and product management at Visual Magnetics.
Visual Magnetics’ system is a unique large-scale graphics solution that matches magnetic-receptive technologies with high-quality print media to enable the creation of in-store graphics that can be updated effortlessly. Unlike traditional printable magnets, which are difficult to print on and cut, and require a steel base for installation, the Visual Magnetics Graphic System™ offers a patented, non-metal based media option that is flexible and smooth, easily printable, and can be applied on virtually any surface, as demonstrated with the FESPA 2012 Big Buck$ Café application.
Visual Magnetics Graphic System components include ActiveWall, micro-iron wall primer, MagnaMedia, micro-iron coated print media, and InvisiLock, custom engineered sheet magnet, which may be applied to virtually any surface, incorporated into frames and fixtures, or simply applied to wall surfaces. Once InvisiLock is applied, users can easily roll graphics printed on any MagnaMedia to achieve instant, high-quality signage and displays. Visual Magnetics’ MagnaMedia is so thin that when combined with the properties of the InvisiLock magnet, it is possible to create multi-layer graphics to update images instantly for specific promotions, without the use of frames, fasteners or adhesives.
For the Big Buck$ Café, Visual Magnetics provided a cash wrap, a circular storefront sign and a large, 39ft x 9ft wallcovering all using VM-POLYeight® MagnaMedia with VM-InvisiLock-30SE magnet. The graphics were printed on to the MagnaMedia using a Durst 500 R, Digital UV Printer and trimmed to the specified sizes. The day before the show opened, Dan Halkyard and Martin van Golen, Visual Magnetics’ business development manager for Europe, both relative novices when it comes to installations of this size, got to work installing the graphics in the café. They installed the InvisiLock magnet on standard primed drywall which was installed only hours earlier and then used seven panels of MagnaMedia with a 1" overlap seam which allowed them to position the panels easily and align the very fine print copy that spanned panels. No glues or adhesives are used with Visual Magnetics’ MagnaMedia, allowing them to simply try again with no mess or difficulty if they missed the alignment on the first try.
“This was a great opportunity to demonstrate what we’re always saying: you do not necessarily need trained professionals to complete a Visual Magnetics Graphic System installation, even if it’s a large mural,” said Halkyard. “Martin installed the complete cash wrap himself while I did the circular sign and we worked together to install the large wallcovering. We completed the entire installation flawlessly in one afternoon without any special labor required.”
The Big Buck$ Café received an overwhelming positive response from show attendees who were excited by the opportunity to experience exhibitor offerings in such a dynamic real-world setting.
“We were very pleased with the way the Big Buck$ Café came together, especially given the tight time constraints placed on the participants,” said Richard Kensett, events & online marketing assistant, FESPA. “Visual Magnetics completed their contributions to the café perfectly, turning the whole project around within a matter of days and doing the actual installation in only a few hours. Everyone was very impressed with their innovative magnetic-receptive technology, which eliminates many of the typical challenges associated with wide-format installations.”
Visual Magnetics and FESPA hope to team up again next year for a similar project, given the success of the premiere Big Buck$ Café. Coordinators plans to create a new and improved Big Bucks Café at FESPA 2013 show in London. Details will be available on http://www.fespa.com as they become available.
Newport County Visitor Center Case Study
Newport, Rhode Island is a popular New England town known for its coastal scenery, famed Gilded Age mansions, and waterfront shopping and dining. The hospitality and tourism industries are the backbone of the town’s economy, with many local merchants relying heavily on signage to direct visitors to their stores.
Centrally located in downtown Newport, the Newport County Visitors Center sells advertising space to local businesses. Some maintain three-month contracts, while others change out their signage more frequently. While the 20+ 40x54 inch glass-enclosed cases along the outside of the visitor center are perfect for catching the eye of visitors walking or driving down Newport’s well-trafficked America's Cup Avenue, getting the signage to withstand the elements for any length of time proved challenging.
Traditionally, Visitors Center ad displays were backed in corkboard with graphics pinned to foam core boards inside of the case. However, the interior of the cases becomes very hot and moist in the summer – with temperatures in those cases often reaching over 200 degrees during the day and dropping below 50 degrees at night – and the moisture from humidity and other coastal factors was saturating and warping foam core boards, resulting in unattractive curling and fading of signage. Furthermore, switching out the graphics as often as needed proved to be time consuming and expensive, as well as wasteful.
Nu Graphics Etc., Inc., a qualified printer and installer of large format media, was tasked with printing the graphics for the businesses that place advertisements with the Newport County Visitors Center. Wayne Moda, president of Nu Graphics, estimates they print up to five ads a week, depending on the client. Moda wanted to find a graphics media alternative that was better suited to meet the advertisers’ needs.
“I have worked with many different types of media, including magnets, in the past and wanted to use something for the Newport Visitor Center that would really keep the graphics looking great and allow us to change them out as needed more efficiently,” said Moda. “I had first encountered Visual Magnetics about two years ago and they immediately came to mind, as their magnetic-receptive technology is really unique and provides a lot of benefits that other types of media don’t.”
Visual Magnetics enables the creation of photo-quality graphics that can be updated effortlessly. The Visual Magnetics Graphic System consists of ActiveWall® Micro-Iron™ wall primer, MagnaMedia® Micro-Iron coated print media, and InvisiLock? custom engineered sheet magnet, which may be applied to virtually any surface, incorporated into frames and fixtures, or mounted directly to a wall. Once InvisiLock is applied, users can simply roll graphics printed on any MagnaMedia to achieve instant, high-quality signage and displays. The Visual Magnetics Graphic System™ can be tailored to meet a wide array of changeable graphics needs and is engineered to be ultra-low profile, allowing for multi-layering of images while giving the seamless appearance of a single layer print. Over 200 major brands are using the Visual Magnetics Graphics System to date.
After a successful beta period, each display was transitioned to the Visual Magnetics system. The complete initial installation took about two weeks. The displays were reengineered by ripping out the cork, adding marine grade plywood on the inside with sheet metal mounted to the face of the board. The sheet metal provides a surface for Visual Magnetics double sided, 40 mil, high energy InvisiLock® magnet to attract to. The graphics then applied to the magnetic surface of the fixture were printed on Visual Magnetic’s VM-POLYeightUV white opaque polyester film. The Micro-Iron™ coating on the reverse side of these print films allow them to “attract” to the magnet previously installed in the fixture.
Visual Magnetics’ MagnaMedia print films are not magnets, they’re magnetic-receptive, which is what truly makes them stand out from competing products. Unlike printing on traditional magnets - which are often bulky, available in limited sizes, and difficult to print on – MagnaMedia are light-weight, flexible and can be printed on almost any print platform as easily as other digital media. However, the graphics printed on MagnaMedia can be quickly and easily changed out. They can also be rolled for convenient, low-cost shipping and are much less likely to be damaged during transit or installation than foam core boards or other rigid materials. Moda estimates that shipping 40 x 54 inch pieces of foam core would total up to $40 or $50 per sign when also factoring the packaging. With Visual Magnetic products, Nu Graphics is able to print a skin, roll it up in a tube, and send it for approximately eight dollars in shipping costs.
“Visual Magnetics is ideal in situations where graphics need to be changed out on a regular basis,” said Moda. “The initial installation is an investment, but once it’s in place graphics can be changed out in a matter of seconds. The time and money that we are able to save customers in terms of shipping and installation by using Visual Magnetics is staggering.”
Moda says the substrate itself is great, the ink lays on it well, there are very few problems with banding and it profiles easily. But it is important for printers to understand what they are working with. “A good large format printer is profiling every material and color matching. It is important to know that there are a number of different Visual Magnetic substrates and the right substrate needs to be selected for each application and printer,” he adds.
“Though we had experimented with different materials when making our advertisements, we could never pinpoint one that met all our needs including enduring winter’s cold temperatures and summer’s blazing direct sunlight, until we were introduced to Visual Magnetics,” said Cathy Morrison, VP of operations, Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Pieces printed on MagnaMedia have a beautiful clean look with no wrinkles, bowing or bending. The graphics we are now able to create with Visual Magnetics are of the highest quality, and many of the obstacles associated with changing them out have been eliminated.”
In terms of environmental impact, all Visual Magnetics MagnaMedia products are recyclable, so future campaign updates will not mean sending retired graphics into a landfill. Waste can also be reduced significantly by creating ‘layerable’ graphics, where displays are updated without having to replace their frames or use fasteners and/or adhesives.
Papa Murphy’s Pizza Menu Board Case Study
The state of California’s menu labeling laws have undergone significant changes over the last two years, presenting great challenges for many of the restaurants that must transition to meet the evolving standards. For example, California Health and Safety Code Section 114094, which took effect on July 1, 2009, mandated that food facilities with 20 or more locations within the state are required to disclose more comprehensive nutritional information, including calorie count, on menu boards.
These changes were in large part the catalyst for Papa Murphy’s International’s decision to revamp its menu board. Papa Murphy’s is the largest take ‘n’ bake pizza company in the world and fifth-largest pizza chain in the U.S. With over 1,300 stores in 37 states, 147 of which are in California, the company wanted to find a way to effectively comply with these new requirements while achieving the following goals:
1. Simplify the menu’s product list
2. Add more beautiful product photography
3. Showcase customer favorites
4. Easy to update images and prices
5. Accomplish all the above with little hassle or additional expense
Rastar Business Communications, a Transcontinental Company, was tasked with finding the solution for Papa Murphy’s. Kae Lynne Nielson of Rastar had worked with Papa Murphy’s in various capacities for close to 20 years and thought that a solution from Visual Magnetics - which matches magnetic-receptive technologies with high-quality print media - might hold the key to upgrading the menu boards in the most efficient way.
Visual Magnetics’ technology enables the creation of photo quality in-store graphics that can be updated effortlessly. Its Visual Magnetics Graphic System™ can be tailored to meet a wide array of changeable graphics needs and is engineered to be ultra-low profile, allowing for multi-layering of images while giving the seamless appearance of a single layer print. Sample menu boards were designed using the Visual Magnetic products and were sent to Papa Murphy’s Pizza.
“Visual Magnetics’ technology seemed like the obvious choice to use in upgrading Papa Murphy’s menu boards,” said Nielson. “In addition to enabling graphics to be changed more easily and cost effectively than ever before, Visual Magnetics Graphic System allowed us to create a unique, customized in-store display for Papa Murphy’s that looked stunning. There is nothing else on the market that compares to Visual Magnetics in terms of matching quality with ease of use and cost effectiveness – and my client was immediately hooked once they saw the samples.”
The Visual Magnetics Graphic System components include ActiveWall® Micro-Iron™ wall primer, MagnaMedia® Micro-Iron coated print media, and InvisiLock custom engineered sheet magnet, which may be applied to virtually any surface, incorporated into frames and fixtures, or mounted directly to a wall. Once InvisiLock is applied, users can simply roll graphics printed on any MagnaMedia to achieve instant, high-quality signage and displays. Visual Magnetics’ MagnaMedia is so thin that when combined with the properties of the InvisiLock magnet, it is possible to create multi-layer graphics to update images instantly for specific promotions, without the use of frames, fasteners or adhesives. Visual Magnetics provided the ideal media option to create the new Papa Murphy’s menu boards.
Papa Murphy’s has found the retrofitting process to be extremely simple; the existing price chips were removed and InvisiLock hi-energy panels were put in place to make the boards magnetic. Panels of Visual Magnetics’ MagnaMedia VM-POLYeight™ 12-mil magnetic-receptive glossy polyester film were used to create photo quality product images with a variety of overlays. Rastar then created an online system for each store to order menu boards that best fit their specific needs, and created two distinctive packages to choose from depending on the store’s menu size. To date, 600 stores have switched to Visual Magnetics’ displays and the remaining 700 are expected to successfully transition by November 2011.
“Choosing the right media was pivotal to the success of such a large-scale retrofitting project,” said Nielson. “Visual Magnetics appeals to everyone involved in the various phases of the process: the press operators enjoy working with it because it runs beautifully and lets them print detailed, high quality graphics; the franchise owners love the look of the menu boards and have greater flexibility to update in-store displays more regularly; and it’s easy for the employees to update the menu boards themselves with flawless results.”
The use of Visual Magnetics has reinvented the way that Papa Murphy’s is now creating in-store displays. The company is not only using Visual Magnetics to more easily update its menu boards with nutritional information, but also to create a more customized feeling for its stores on a seasonal basis; it has now become so effortless and cost-effective to update signage that a unique experience can be created for the customer almost every time they come into a Papa Murphy’s store.
“We initially began the task of changing our menu boards primarily to comply with new state laws, but after being introduced to Visual Magnetics, we found many more exciting reasons to refresh our look,” said Sandi Burgstahler, Field Implementation Manager for Papa Murphy’s. “Using Visual Magnetics media, we can now update our in-store signage and menu boards faster and more easily than ever before, giving us an opportunity to create a more dynamic experience for our customers by regularly updating our graphics to highlight different products each month and to take advantage of the themes of each season.”
Papa Murphy’s has just launched a remodeling schedule for its older stores. As part of the plan, the company plans to incorporate Visual Magnetics’ media for three large format product photos displayed on lobby walls.
POP Graphics: Magnetic-Receptive Media
Point-of-purchase (POP) graphics are a very important promotional tool for many retailers. They are also integral to the sign business. In fact, according to the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association’s (SGIA’s) 2010 Market Trends Survey Report, POP graphics represent the leading market for graphic imagers, accounting for 75.7 per cent of overall share.
Retailers constantly compete with each other to display stunning, photo-quality graphics and create the sense of a dynamic in-store experience for shoppers. It is also important for POP media to enable cost-effective design flexibility and to be easy to install and update.
One option in recent years has been to use magnetic-receptive media. This offers benefits for both print providers and in-store marketers, in terms of graphic quality and ease of use for POP applications.
Display graphics for retail environments are commonly printed and mounted on approximately 12-mm (0.47-in.) thick foamboard. Although printing directly to board has an economic advantage to printing graphics that later are mounted to board, this type of visual display can be relatively bulky and expensive to ship and, once it has been delivered, difficult and time-consuming to install in-store.
Further, these graphics are generally neither repositionable nor reusable. As a result, once they are outdated, the retailer must discard all materials and start the entire process over again, ordering completely new POP graphics. This is a very expensive and wasteful practice.
For years, the idea of using magnets with visual displays has had strong appeal for both print providers and retailers, as POP graphics become more easily changeable, reusable, and easier to ship, eliminating many of the negative issues associated with traditional graphic installations.
In the past, direct print magnetic systems were not able to deliver the expected ease of use. And in terms of printability, they were less than ideal for wide-format graphics, as they were available only in limited widths, lacked flexibility, were too thick and heavy and resulted in a lower-quality appearance for the signage.