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Spandex Wales Rally1

Cardiff-based Genesis Marketing delivered full event branding for this month’s Wales Rally GB Championships - the British leg of the World Rally Championships - using a range of ImagePerfect media from Spandex.

The Wales Rally GB project was delivered on behalf of client International Motor Sports, who were pointed towards Genesis by the Welsh government, an event sponsor and regular client of the company. The client’s mission was to extend the event beyond the rally element, incorporating entertainment, catering, display cars and so on, making it a memorable event for the 100,000 spectators and delivering maximum brand impact for sponsors.

The Wales Rally GB brief involved the complete branding of three RallyFest visitor experience areas - at Chirk Castle near Wrexham, Kinmel Park on the North Welsh coast, and Sweet Lamb near Aberystwyth - as well as spectator areas along 200 miles of rally track.

The project included angled concord barrier panels for crowd control, feather flags, decorated panelling for the start and finish car podiums, branding on timing gantries, pull-up banners, and directional and venue signage, as well as five kilometres of scrim and a further five kilometres of branded fabric bunting. Spandex ImagePerfect media used included IP2511 white gloss vinyl with a grey adhesive system for increased opacity, IP 2514 a cost effective clear gloss vinyl, and IP 2122 a 100% blockout banner with double sided printability.

The Toyota building at Deeside, North Wales, was also transformed into the Wales Rally GB Championship headquarters and media centre, while an open area adjacent to the building became the service park for all the participating vehicles. “Naturally, the temporary event branding of the Toyota premises had to be handled with sensitivity to the building’s usual occupants”, explains Owen, “We needed to be 100% certain that the materials and installation methods we were using would not leave any traces. Spandex suggested using IP Fabric Light, a self-adhesive textile for wall decoration with a removable adhesive – effectively like a giant sticky note –meaning wall graphics could be installed and removed without leaving any residue. More importantly, the visual impact of the graphics was amazing, and could be achieved without any of the aesthetic compromises you have to accept when you mount giant PVC graphics using frames and eyelets.”

“For a project like this, the ‘wow factor’ is what it’s all about”, says Genesis managing director Andrew Owen. “You need to look at all aspects of the event from the perspective of the participants, sponsors, spectators and media, and think about how to brand the event so that it packs a visual punch that does the event full justice. If we get it right, we’ll also ensure that the brand is everywhere when images of the event are pushed out via the media and over social networks.”

Virtually all elements were produced by Genesis in-house on the company’s Roland VersaCAMM VS540i print and cut machine, installed by Spandex earlier this year, together with a Polarsign laminator. Only the scrim printing was handled elsewhere, due to the exceptional volume.

The notorious Welsh weather also gave the Genesis team some challenges. Freak hurricane winds the night before the event start brought down bunting, feather flags and crowd barriers, but the team were able to rescue and reinstate everything except for one flag. “It proved the value of selecting higher quality materials for the job. Our work took quite a hammering from the elements that night, but we were able to get it all looking ship-shape again the following day.”

The Genesis team’s experience of event branding for all weathers means that they routinely specify more durable, weather-resistant materials, such as ImagePerfect Double-Sided PVC Banner. Genesis can prove the cost-efficiency of doing so compared with cheaper media, which will need to be replaced, incurring repeat production and installation charges for the client.

Detailed planning for the Wales Rally GB started at Genesis six months before the event, including extensive media sampling with Spandex’s support. “We’re constantly looking at new materials to make the best choices for the client, and Spandex are always at the end of a phone to give us advice for a challenging application”, says Owen.

Production kicked off three months ahead of the start date, with all branding elements then installed over the space of three days from Saturday to Monday before the event start. A Genesis team of 16 worked shifts 24/7 to handle the complex installation logistics, racking up driving distances of 1500 miles between the multiple sites. After the event, all sites had to be cleared within two days.

“Smooth and well co-ordinated installation and de-rig is critical for event clients”, emphasises Owen. “They need a partner that can plan carefully and then handle the practicalities with the minimum of fuss, and with full consideration of health and safety. This aspect of our service has definitely been critical to the reputation we’ve gained in this field, and it contributed to our immediate reappointment by International Motor Sports for the 2014 event.”

Genesis Marketing was established in 2005, and has earned a reputation for event branding and city dressing for public and private sector clients across Wales, and for a growing portfolio of clients in the UK sporting and leisure events industry.