SMP Group wraps Leicester City bus for lucky fans

By Max Goldbart, Monday 16 May 2016

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SMP Group wrapped a bus that was used to give a select group of Leicester City FC fans a tour of the city. Only those fans that had bet on the team to win the Premier League at the beginning of the season qualified for the celebratory tour.

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The wrap was delayed while SMP waited to see if Leicester would win the league

The tour, including the bus wrap, was commissioned by bookmaker Paddy Power. Work began on 8 April, at which point Leicester looked likely to win the league. 

Richard Brennan, account manager at Woolwich-based SMP, said: “The idea was to replicate a bus parade that you would typically see when a team has won a major sporting event. The whole concept was to celebrate the success of the punters who had dared to back such an outsider. We then worked to secure the double decker bus and began the process of wrapping the vehicle in Paddy Power’s chosen artwork."

The artwork was digitally printed using SMP's HP Latex printer onto bus vinyl. SMP then individually hand-applied to each part of the vehicle. 

Brennan said: "Paddy Power is a brilliant client to work with and this was very much a partnership with their PR and marketing department. We were all extremely pleased at how much excitement the bus caused to both Leicester fans and the wider community. We have worked as Paddy Power’s sole POS print provider for the past two years plus.”

The main difficulty came with the timing, as no one could be sure when or if Leicester would win the league. The bus was hired on April 18 but then put on hold until 25 April, to wait on results. When Tottenham Hotspur drew with Chelsea on 2 May, Leicester was given an unassailable lead at the top of the table and the wrapping could be finished.   

It was completed on 3 May and sent up to Leicester, ready to tour the city with the winning fans on 7 May for Leicester’s final home game against Everton. The bus drove from a local Paddy Power shop in Leicester and did three laps of the city. On board were approximately 15 fans who had bet on Leicester winning the League at the start of the season, plus a number of their friends and family. 

Brennan said SMP now has a number of bespoke jobs planned for the upcoming European Championships.

SMP Group mostly produces POS material, from external posters to magnetic items. Its Woolwich premises are 8,360sqm and it employs 200 staff with a turnover of £38m. In March, it invested in a second Diecut Goldline manual die cutter, to further increase safety and productivity. 

Leicester City FC printed more than double its usual number of programmes for its final home game against Everton, on A4 size instead of the usual A5. The 19,000-print run sold out. 

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