What do a PEEP, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms minor league hockey team, and a Zamboni have in common? A whole lot it turns out.
Just Born Quality Confections, the makers of PEEPS®, is located in Lehigh Valley and sponsors the Phantoms. One of PPL Arena’s Zambonis is wrapped in PEEP vinyl graphics, and Just Born hatched a plan to make the Zamboni even more unique through the addition of a four-foot-tall, yellow PEEPS chick.
To make the vision a reality, Just Born brought in Sign Design Associates, who also sponsors the Phantoms and has provided a variety of signage for the stadium.
After working up a design and some concept drawings, Sign Design Associates brought Peachtree City Foamcraft on board to handle the fabrication.
The major challenge in mounting a PEEP to the Zamboni was making sure the driver could still perform his job. Weight was a concern since the driver needed to be able to lift the PEEP, and the Zamboni’s front end is fiberglass with no structural integrity.
“[The Zamboni] required the ability to quickly remove the icon and dump its ice loads and reattach the icon for the next use,” says Michael Fetter, sales manager at Peachtree City Foamcraft.
Sight was an even bigger issue. “The main challenge was the ability for the driver to be able to see when conditioning the ice. For that, we reviewed with all parties involved (including the driver),” says Dennis Wirth, president of Sign Design Associates. “We came up with the concept of an old-style muscle car hood pin for the quick attachment.”
The team built an aluminum structure designed to accept a quick disconnect pin system for easy detachment and reattachment and to hold the PEEP high enough off the Zamboni’s hood that the driver could see the sidewalls of the ice rink.
The next hurdle was actually designing the 3D PEEP to resemble the real-life sugary treat. “Image reputation had to be maintained, [so] colors had to be exactly matched,” says Fetter. “This product needed to be seamlessly integrated into their marketing campaign.”
Fetter visited the Just Born plant and took digital photos of the PEEPS to ensure an accurate representation. Once the images were acquired, a vector art design was created that could be fed to Peachtree City Foamcraft’s contour cutters.
After cutting the EPS foam into an isometric shape, the PEEP was brought to the stadium for fitting. “The raw cut Peep was brought to the site, we set it on the Zamboni, then tested for sightline, clearance on and off the ice, and the ability for it to be removed when dumping the ice,” says Wirth.
Once this testing was complete, Peachtree finalized the sculpting of the 3D PEEP. They next encapsulated it in their proprietary hard coat system, Poly-Armor™ finish, to meet the high-impact needs of the project and then painted it yellow.
When the PEEP was finally mounted, it had taken several weeks to complete the job. But the Phantoms now have a permanent display to bring out whenever they’re in the mood for a treat!
By Ashley Bray