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Orange Barrel Media Building Wraps Provide Mega-Sized Branding

Company recreates Columbus, OH landscape (and points beyond)

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Since the days of the supersized, handpainted murals that adorned big-city buildings (and now serve as fascinating touchstones to bygone eras), wall graphics have always compelled viewers to slow down and read. Traditional “walldog” murals are too time-consuming and expensive for most commercial applications (though they’re still popular for artistic installations), but effective marketing of vinyl’s continuing evolution as a more pliable, ink-receptive substrate – with a gradually decreasing price point – has triggered burgeoning demand for murals, wallcoverings and related vinyl environmental graphics.

Consequently, Columbus, OH-based Orange Barrel Media (OBM) has catapulted into prominence in this market. The company, in business since 2003, has bedecked much of its hometown, and played a role in downtown Columbus’ renaissance. OBM’s grand-format wallscapes conspicuously adorn the Arena District downtown, where an influx of restaurants and shops surrounds the Nationwide Arena (home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets).

“Since we opened, we’ve worked together with the Columbus city officials to operate within existing regulations or, when necessary, collaborate to develop new regulations that allow vibrant wallscapes to enrich urban landscapes,” Peter Scantland, OBM’s president, said. “Many officials who were initially reluctant about supporting our vision have since become our biggest supporters after they witnessed the impact artistic, super-sized advertising can have on an urban environment.”

The company’s work and reputation have enabled it to expand to locations in NYC, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. and several other cities.

“There are many ways in which we gain new business,” he said. “But, I’d say the main way is through our work itself. Clients see the work we’ve done through other creative executions, and they want similar branding impact for themselves. We also respond to RFPs and RFQs, and we have a specialized sales team that seeks out targeted clients, but our work does a great job selling itself.”

The company plans to construct a Columbus building that will serve as a powerful calling card. OBM will occupy a five-acre site in Franklinton – an historic section of town undergoing renewal – that was previously home to a concrete batch plant. Columbus architect George Aycock designed a facility with 10,000 sq. ft. each of office and production space. But, perhaps most essentially, a crowning, three-sided, 120-ft.-tall tower will contain two faces that will serve as an ideal “canvas” for the company’s capabilities. The south-face tower, equipped with solar panels, will collect energy and help the facility achieve LEED Platinum certification.

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These demonstrations of OBM’s work testify to vinyl wrap’s effectiveness, and how ingenuity and execution helped these ambitious clients gain public attention – and, probably, a few new customers.

PNC goes big into CLT
Growing your business in a new market is always risky. It’s even more challenging when said ter-
ritory resides in the bowels of a competitor’s home turf. But, Pittsburgh-based bank and financial-services chain PNC assumed such a challenge when, after the acquisition of RBC Cenutra, it entered the Charlotte, NC market – headquarters of the venerable Bank of America.

However, rather than timidly dipping a toe in the water, PNC did a cannonball into the deep end with an aggressive, off-premise-graphic campaign at Charlotte’s EpiCentre, an upscale lifestyle center with scores of trendy shops, restaurants and other gathering places. A company with orange as its primary logo color, and a provider named Orange Barrel Media, is clearly an apt pairing.

EpiCentre’s ingress, a bank of elevators and a concrete-wall façade, leads visitors onto the lifestyle center’s concourse. OBM collaborated with PNC’s agency, NYC-based Posterscope, to emphasize the facility’s elevator banks in its campaign. The shop’s installers prepped the elevator doors with a thorough cleaning. They decorated the 12 elevator doors and the multi-story elevator shaft with pressure-sensitive vinyl, and dressed the columns with 13-oz., banner material that’s secured with Velcro®.

The job tallied 4,150 sq. ft. of graphics, which OBM printed on a Roland SolJet Pro III XC-540 printer with Solaris eco-solvent inks and VersaWorks RIP. A luster-finish overlaminate helped the graphics retain their vivid hues during the eight-week campaign. Because of the weight limits on the pavilion floor, the installation team had to use a Teupen Atrium Lift to maneuver around the concourse. And, naturally, overnight work was required to avoid interfering with customer flow.

Swing stage
OBM and Nationwide Insurance, also of Columbus, have created a symbiotic relationship. Nationwide, the namesake sponsor of the arena that’s a prominent Columbus destination, has furthered its local market dominance thanks to fun and behemoth advertisements that have become urban icons. And, of course, OBM has grown its business and reputation through recognition of these attention-grabbing signs.

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Several buildings near the intersections of High and Spring Sts., which lead into the Arena District, serve as the canvases for many of OBM’s Nationwide creations. A most challenging installation promoted the Columbus children’s hospital that Nationwide sponsors. The digital graphics were fabricated with 13-oz., mesh material and printed on OBM’s 16-ft.-wide EFI-VUTEk GS5000r UV-cure-ink printer at 1,000 dpi, bi-directionally and in double-pass mode for better image clarity. During printing, the printer’s onboard Fiery® XF RIP processed the images, which were submitted to OBM as vector art and edited in a tiling pattern with Adobe’s Creative Suite.

Projecting figures of playing children, however, posed a particular challenge. A Columbus engineering firm needed to verify the wall structure could support the weighty figures. Front sections of the building had to be temporarily removed to tie the structure’s support wires into the walls’ structural steel. Using a plasma-cutting system, OBM created a steel support structure for the sculptures, which were painted with acrylic-polyurethane paint and hung. The shop printed the “kids” on adhesive-backed, 3M vinyl, which it mounted to ½-in.-thick, corrugated plastic.
 

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