Upon returning to Auckland from Australia, New Zealand-born Garth Castle was struck by a business idea while in the process of buying a car. He noticed people who were trying to sell their car privately would park on the side of road with signs stuck to their windows in areas where there’s high foot traffic.
The problem with this sales strategy, Garth noticed, was that the signs would become damaged by the weather if they were displayed on the exterior of the vehicle. On the other hand, if they were placed inside the vehicle, it was hard to retain the contact details if you didn’t have a pen handy or you had a poor memory.
He then started to notice a similar problem with signwritten commercial vehicles. They had the company’s contact details plastered all over the vehicle but there was no easy way for potential customers to take this information away with them.
The resulting lost sales opportunity was defeating the main purpose of signwriting a vehicle. Surely there was something that would make it easier for the potential customer to contact the business, Garth thought – something that would provide a better return on the investment already made on signwriting the vehicle.
The solution seemed to be a 21st Century extension utilising the business card, which has been around in one form or another since the 1900s. Today it continues to be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools for business people, surviving technological evolution and change. It can provide all the needed information, but unfortunately business cards often just lie around in people’s desk drawers or on their shelves. Garth wanted to make them work for businesses in a new way.
If a potential customer was able to easily obtain all of the company’s contact details, they could then research the company via their website or just give them a call. There had to be a logical way for potential customers to obtain a business card from the outside of the vehicle. That was when the Cardvertizer was born.
Garth went about designing and making a Cardvertizer prototype. The goal was to develop a unit that could be securely attached to the rear side windows of a vehicle, but not permanently. It needed to incorporate a weather-resistant business cardholder that could protect business or promotional cards from the elements, while maintaining ease of access to the cards. It would also have an area where you could display a photo-sized, personalised advertisement, to support existing signwriting or for use on non-signwritten vehicles. The whole unit also had to be made out of tough UV resistant material, but most importantly, it had to be able to be manufactured here in New Zealand.
Once Garth had developed his prototype, the next challenge was getting the product to the local market. While having a coffee with a friend, Elwyn McGoram (with whom he’d worked at The Warehouse – New Zealand’s largest retailer), Garth showed Elwyn the prototype and he immediately saw the Cardvertizer’s potential.
The timing was perfect for Elwyn, as he was looking for new opportunities after leaving The Warehouse. They then incorporated EZI-impact Ltd, with the goal of providing cost-effective marketing solutions, with the Cardvertizer as their main product.
After months of development the Cardvertizer was finally launched into the New Zealand market in November 2006 at Big Boys Toys.
Since then, sales of the Cardvertizer range of products has gone from strength to strength.
Have you seen one on the side of a car yet?
Find out where you can buy one here…