Advertising and marketing essentially are story-telling. Short stories by necessity but nonetheless story-telling. One of the first lessons taught about creating a story in many composition and creative writing classes is to show, don’t tell. The audience more likely will  remember a story when they’re shown a picture in their mind’s eye, than if the story merely is told.

This is why beverage fleet graphics are among the best methods for communicating a brand’s story, especially for niche brands and localized messaging. It’s also why the best fleet graphics create a lasting image in the mind of the consumer.

As craft, niche and seasonal beverage brands continue to proliferate, more opportunities are available for making the most effective use of a fleet’s rolling billboards.

Now in its fifth year, Beverage Industry’s Best Fleet Graphics competition was created to recognize beverage marketers who work on the leading edge of vehicle graphics technology and design to deliver unique mobile marketing messages on an increasingly diverse range of vehicles.

As in the past, this year’s best entries exemplify a few consistent themes. Leveraging a large fleet to carry bold marketing messages for the plethora of local and regional craft beer brands is an increasingly popular theme. At the opposite extreme, “green” messaging that recognizes a fleet’s environmental efforts is taking a more subtle, though still visible, graphic presence.

The 2017 award for Best Fleet Graphics goes to Houston-based Silver Eagle Distributors for its Hopadillo IPA trailer. Cross a Texas Armadillo with the flower bud of a hop plant and the resulting Hopadillo creature looks something like the Geico Gecko’s rowdy cousin. That’s an image that will be tough to forget.

Sharing honors for Best Green Gone Subtle are the door graphics for Silver Eagle’s compressed natural gas (CNG) tractor fleet, and Napa Valley, Calif.-based beverage logistics provider Biagi Brothers’ Green Machine tractors, which are custom-spec’ed for high fuel economy and near-zero emissions.

Taking an Honorable Mention for its clever combination of a retro logo design with a modern photo-realistic background is Idaho Springs Water of Nampa, Idaho. Another Honorable Mention goes to Printed Pixel of South Amboy, N.J., working with Avery Dennison digitally printed films to create a full body wrap for a Four Seasons Hotels’ tasting truck, a co-marketing project with several major beverage brands. BI