How do you make a small car stand out? Transform it into a rocket ship—at least that's what Mini of the Fox Valley and FastSigns Appleton decided to do for a national Mini dealer contest.
FastSigns Appleton, WI has been in business 17 years. Starting out as a typical small storefront with a very small team, it has grown to 15 full time employees working with three roll-to-roll printers, two flatbed printers, two plotters, one large-format router, one digital cutter, and one rotary engraver. With more than 8,000 sqft of building space and one 1,500+ sqft off-site installation bay, FastSigns of Appleton has become the #3 center in a franchise system of over 500 locations. Under the leadership of owner Doug Brauer and his trusted sales staff and dedicated production team, the company continues to grow and push the boundaries of what “sign shop” can do.
"Bergstrom Automotive / Mini of the Fox Valley were involved with a promotion and advertising challenge, based on the MINI concept of 'Not Normal',” said Brauer. "The goal with Mini of the Fox Valley was to create a viral video and event showcasing the unique and fun personality of MINI. Overall the goal was to standout and make a splash with local and national advertising, and inevitably drive sales."
The idea for the "Mini Rocket" came along with researching what people thought of MINI, explained Brauer. A brainstorming team that included Tom Scheetz, manager at Bergstrom’s Mini of the Fox Valley; Tim Bergstrom, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Bergstrom Automotive; Becky Knuth, FastSigns creative director; Trevor Hauk, project manager, and Brauer started throwing ideas back and forth, looking to find an idea that would be able to stretch across the fabric of the MINI market nationally as well in the local area. The team decided to make a Mini Cooper Clubman out of this world and turn it into a rocket. The campaign would include "moon men"—complete with suits—and supporting building graphics. These were used to create a short commercial and viral video to showcase “mini moon men” and the transformation of targeted customers into other moon men. Traveling throughout Wisconsin the video not only generated awareness and excitement for MINI, it showcased the sights and scenes of entertaining local landmarks.
Once the concept was decided on, it was turned over the to the project manager and the design team, with nothing more than “make this happen!” "With parameters of how it could be attached, the approximate sizes, and a budget, we were set in motion," said Brauer. "First, out Project Manager Trevor Hauk and Creative Director Becky Knuth generated some quick sketches, and thought of a process of how to take a flat, limited-sized substrate and make it into two huge three-dimensional rockets. After a few days we came up with ridged foam and aluminum to generate an internal armature that would then be wrapped with a polystyrene skin. This armature measured close to 16 feet tall and needed to be installed and handled by our small team of dedicated installers working without a crane and the restriction of not damaging, screwing into or permanently altering the building it was to be affixed to. Keeping weight to a minimum was a key feature along with material costs, since we had a strict committed budget for the project."
The team at Fastsigns Appleton had a little over a week to create this entire project from start to finish. "Luckily we have a great working relationship with the dealership entrusting us to create something remarkable. This single point in trust allowed us to eliminate all proofing stages bringing us right into production followed by installation," said Brauer. Also, since the deadline was so tight they were unable to special-order any material. They had to make it work with the available materials on hand. Within days, the design and processes were finalized for construction.