McCullough Is Wrapped Up in Vegas Events

— Tradeshow Week, 10/4/2007 2:56:00 PM

When the biggest of the big-name exhibitors come to Las Vegas, they often want to proclaim their presence from the highest peaks … in this case, billboards and high-rise buildings. One company that can make it happen is five-year-old Elite Media the major player in the business of wrapping or projecting super-size images on buildings and creating giant wallscapes in Las Vegas. Elite founder and president Chad McCullough spoke with TSW Las Vegas Contributing Editor Diane Taylor about how and why super-graphics work at shows.

Question: Why do companies need such huge ads?

Answer: Some call it an “ego buy,” in that the company sees its advertising more prominently than any other in town. At other times, the large format graphic on a building may also designate where a particular company is headquartered.

Q: How much does it cost to wrap a building?

A. It all depends on the size of the project. The cost can range from $10,000 to $1 million.

Q: What has been your biggest job in Las Vegas?

A: During NBA All-Star Weekend, we erected a 55,000 square foot T-Mobile wrap on the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino; the head of Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade was eight stories high.

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Q: What are the actual services you provide?

A: Our clients or their advertising agencies give us the graphics. We then provide the rest of the package including the printing of the large version of the graphic, its installation and payment of fees to the building.

Q: Even a 16-foot wide printing press wouldn’t cover some of the large graphics you’re talking about, correct?

A: Yes. When we wrap directly on a building, we do it with printed mesh pieces, like stickers, that are put in place to form the whole picture. We can also erect huge frames for mesh graphics and those, too, are printed in sections.

Q: Doesn’t the mesh detract from the views of the hotel guests?

A: Though it doesn’t appear so from the ground, the hotel guests can see through the mesh.

Q: Do any buildings refuse to have advertising wraps put on them?

A: Most see it as an additional revenue stream and are eager to participate.

Q: What brought you to Las Vegas?

A: I was an advertising and marketing major in college and went into the printing business in California, where we first worked with large graphics. My partners had connections in Shanghai, China, so we opened a company there. I was newly married, however, and the commute back to the U.S. was difficult, so I sold my interest in China. My wife, Kate, and I then started our own company in Los Angeles. With technology enabling the production of larger and larger graphics, we found that most of our business for grand-scale advertising was coming from Las Vegas. We moved our company headquarters to Las Vegas four years ago.

Q: Is it still a family-owned company?

AYes, my wife is my partner and takes care of our legal and financial matters (and our two children). Our receptionist is my mother, Shirley McCullough. Then we have two other employees who are just like family.

Q: How’s business?

A: Business is great. We’ve found a niche to fill in a city that loves to go big and bold. We also do work in California and Florida. We recently completed a big job for Samsung in Orlando. Best of all, we love what we’re doing and are having great fun.