Idea to wrap Edmonton airport tower pitched to several automakers

Although there has been some controversy, the not-for-profit Edmonton airport considers the Lexus-wrap project as a fund-raiser Photo credit: Pattison Outdoor Advertsising

A 17-month contract involving Lexus dealers in Edmonton, Lexus Canada and the Edmonton International Airport is garnering national media and Internet attention, all for a unique pairing of promotion and customer service.

In what Pattison Outdoor Advertising Vice-President and Prairie Region General Manager Brian de Ruiter calls the “integrated Lexus program,” the entire airport tower building has been wrapped in a giant Lexus billboard, and 30 prime Lexus customer-only parking spots have been reserved in the parkade, closest to the terminal.

No one close to the project would discuss the cost but its reach has been extensive. Some media reports called the parking spots elitist; supporters call it creative marketing.

The not-for-profit airport sees it as a fund-raiser.

It was de Ruiter’s idea to pitch the wrap and the parking as a package, making it the first such integrated program with a car company in Canada. “We pitched it to Lexus, Audi and BMW [and] Lexus jumped on it.”

“Our Edmonton area dealers, in partnership with Lexus Canada, wanted to take advantage of this high-visibility and high impact first-to-market opportunity,” said a Toyota Canada spokesperson.

“We saw the marketing activation opportunity with the building wrap and parking spaces as yet another way to provide he says. “I’m not getting a windfall, but at the same token I don’t get hit between the eyes when it goes the other direction. So, I prefer to keep the natural hedge happening or as close to it as possible.”

On the logistics side of the supply chain, Dawna Peat, responsible for strategic development for TFT Global based in Ingersoll, Ont., explains that her company’s model is also remaining steady through the dip in the Canadian dollar, but it’s for a different reason.

“It really doesn’t impact on us,” she says. “Supplies and major expenses like material handling equipment and so forth have increased, but that also increases for our competitors. We haven’t found that our competition has been able to do any better pricing-wise, and we definitely have still continued to see a steady growth in our company.

“So, other than the fact that our costs have gone up – but like I said, those costs go up for everybody – there really haven’t been any major impacts that we’ve seen at this time.”

The automotive parts and logistics industries in Canada are still facing pressures from a number of sides. Stock value downgrades in the wake of the U.K.’s Brexit vote and concerns over the impending impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have raised concerns, as has the shift in vehicle manufacturing to the southern United States and Mexico.

However, at least in these cases, parts and logistics providers are finding that the lower Canadian dollar has been a manageable factor.

You can reach Harry Pegg at



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