Lancers set to travel the 401 in style

If you’re traveling along the 401 over the holidays and happen to spot a handsome looking coach with your favourite varsity athletes posted all over it, then you’re seeing the newly refurbished and colorfully catchy Lancers bus.

This new look is a major step up from the simple logos that had been in use just a few months ago.

Said Marketing Manager for Athletics and Recreational Services, Eric Vandenbroucke, “(Athletics Director) Gord (Grace) and I had seen it done with other sports teams when they travel, and we thought it would be a neat idea to brand our university and sports team.”

The images were printed on a wrap that was posted all along the bus’s exterior. “We think it’s an outstanding design, it’s very sharp and a strong branding initiative thinking that the bus travels around the province throughout the week.”

He continued, “It really is a traveling billboard throughout province. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our student athletes, our fans, our alumni and administrators from other institutions,” said Vandenbroucke.

Sports Information Officer Elisa Mitton said, “That’s the best looking bus in the CIS.” And its visibility and opportunities as a marketing tool have encouraged her to consider further promotional campaigns involving the bus.

“We’re hoping to run a contest with the bus to win a trip on the bus with the basketball team. We’d buy the winner’s dinner and their tickets to the game and give them some Lancer gear,” she said. The bus looks good on the inside, too, with 47 seats, a bathroom, and mini-screens to watch movies on.

The wrap itself pictures volleyball’s Briana Binder, basketball’s Kevin Kloostra, football’s Daryl Stephenson, track and field’s Danielle Harrison, and of course Winston, the Lancer’s mascot.

The re-designed bus was made possible thru a partnership with Badder Bus Lines, the official carrier of the Windsor Lancers.

Gord Grace said, “There are a couple of reasons behind [the wrap]. It is a marketing tool for us, it’s a moving billboard moving up and down the 401 and I’ve gotten calls from friends of mine, alumni, and ex-student athletes who have seen it downtown Toronto, because it’s not only us using it. It’s available to anybody, any client of the bus company. So that bus is literally on the road seven days a week probably 52 weeks a year.”

Grace also believes that the flashy bus also gets students talking about their school. “I think it’s also a source of pride for the student athletes when they get a chance to go on that bus … they feel that much more pride in the university that they’re representing. It’s been a pretty effective marketing tool for us. And if you spread out the cost over a couple of years, it really is an inexpensive way to get your name out there to other parts of the province. In terms of attracting student athletes or just even students interested in the University of Windsor, it’s an inexpensive way to highlight your university and what it’s all about,” said Grace.

This decision is a particularly good fit for the University of Windsor which has to travel a significant amount to compete with other institutions. “Being a peripheral school,” said Grace, “we spend more on buses than say Waterloo or McMaster does, and so we spend fairly significant amount on buses. So part of the agreement with [Badder Buslines] is they’ll allow us to wrap the bus.”

“And again, it’s not necessarily a new idea, you see Junior A teams doing it, but Badder was good enough to allow us to do it. They’ve been a sponsor of ours, obviously you have a client relationship with them, but they’re also a sponsor of us. I think it makes them look good too. They were quite proud, and said they feel as though they have the best looking bus in the province,” said Grace.

“It’s basically coming out of our marketing budget. So we fund-raise a lot here, so it’s really coming out of our fundraising money. We just allocate it towards that project. We could have bought brochures with it, and things like that. So this year we decided to. The actual wrap they said will last four years,” said Grace.

“Yeah, it’s a heck of a bus. Like I said, I’m surprised with the amount of good response we’ve got. Obviously our student athletes love it, but if you’re an alumnus of the University and you happen to be on the 401 and see the Lancer bus go by I think that’s a source of pride for our alumni, too,” said Grace.

“It’s hard to measure, right, I mean we put our website on the bus, … the fact that we’re so far away from a huge part of the population of Canada, any opportunity we get to go down there, … I think, it’s good for the profile of the department but also for the University of Windsor in the heart of Canada,” said Grace.

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