OmniTel Communications contacted us and asked if we do “standees,” or giant cutout signs. They needed several attention-getting displays to be used along the RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa. During this week-long ride, bikers stay in hotels or camp out in towns along the route. OmniTel wanted to create a fun experience for riders at four of these stops. Of course, we took on the challenge and had a blast planning and producing these custom displays.
OmniTel’s owner envisioned four different American scenes as backdrops – San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, a midwest farm town, and New York City. In front of these backdrops would be a 6′ Godzilla-like cutout that people could pose with, take selfie’s, and post photos to social media.
The first step was to find an illustrator that could do Marvel-style drawings in a very short timeline. We found a wonderful artist who was reasonably priced (and fast), and could accommodate our need for large scale, computerized file formats for printing.
The second step was to purchase hardware to hold the backdrop scenes. The graphics were printed on Poplin (fabric) material for ease of transport and set up, but because they were going to be outside and exposed to the elements, the hardware had to be sturdy. We decided on a 10′ wall display with footings. We staked down the feet and tied nylon rope around the top, then staked those in the ground too – like a tent.
The third step was to make the cutout monsters. Each one was unique and looked like Godzilla attacking the landscape. We used 3M IJ35C-10 and laminated the graphics for protection from the weather. Then we applied the graphics to sheets of polymetal and, using a jigsaw, carefully cut out the four different Godzilla shapes. We had to file around the edges of each display by hand to ensure there were no sharp points – including the teeth!
Finally, we added an aluminum easel-back to each, and conduit brackets so that the monsters could be staked to the ground. Special crates were custom made for each display and then shipped in plenty of time for the race. OmniTel enjoyed the publicity and riders had fun posing with creatures at the various stages along the bike route.