The Wrappr brothers pioneering a new form of advertising

By Ruby Derrick | 22 May 2023

When brothers Liam and Jonte Shaw saw an opportunity to test out a sharing economy advertising business, they ran with it. 

Their startup, Wrappr, is pioneering a new form of advertising, to share the ad economy and to benefit brands, people and the environment. 

The outdoor advertising company connects brands with the right people to promote them in their area with a wrap on their vehicle. 

It was a car wrapping campaign back at the food delivery startup Liam was working at in 2017 that became the catalyst for the brothers’ business. 

"Jonte and I have launched a company together previously, and we had talked about a sharing economy advertising business,” said Liam Shaw.

“This seemed like the ideal opportunity to test it out, so we told my work that we would run the whole campaign for them, and we found 20 people who were keen to get wraps put on their cars.  

“The campaign performed really well, and the areas where the cars ran grew revenue two to three times more than the areas where traditional OOH was running, so we felt like we were onto something and decided to make Wrappr into a real company.” 

Jonte Shaw said it turned out that this new form of advertising worked well and was something to develop.

Over $20B is spent on advertising in Australia each year, and we were really inspired by the idea that there might be a way to harness some of this to benefit local people and the environment, whilst also growing brands. 

Despite being brothers, the two work very differently, which creates a well-rounded and versatile dynamic in the team.  

Liam Shaw (pictured right) said what he enjoys most about building Wrappr is that they get to constantly ‘invent’ new things to solve customer problems. 

Liam Shaw.

“If you look at all the new innovations we’ve introduced in our short time you will hopefully see a real pioneering spirit in the company which is something we’re striving to bake into our culture,” he said. 

“This is where my strength is, and fortunately Jonte’s strength is really in the implementation and creating the structure for ideas to come to life at scale which is obviously very complimentary.  

We wouldn’t be nearly as effective without each other, that’s for sure. 

Jonte Shaw said the two have a strong balance of company building and company operating between them. 

“I'm very process driven, and like things to be orderly, efficient and run smoothly - while Liam is more big picture and loves coming up with new ideas,” he said. 

To maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives, upon starting out, the pair both agreed that they’re brothers first and co-founders second. 

Jonte Shaw said managing that balance requires constant discipline, but for the most part, they’ve done it well. 

We spend a decent amount of time together doing non-work stuff like travelling and seeing family and when we’re doing these things we both intuitively know that shop talk is off limits,” he said. 

Liam said there was an unwritten rule of sorts that when the two are catching up outside of work hours, they don’t discuss work matters.  

It’s not anything we’ve ever had to set up a system for or ever really bring up with one another,” he said. 

The fact that we’ve grown up together means we both understand each other well, and we both intuitively understand each other’s boundaries and we rarely seem to cross them. 

“One of the advantages of working with your brother; we’ve probably annoyed each other so much as kids we now know exactly where the line is! 

Jonte and Liam credit that having one another has been instrumental in constructing their business and sharing the load of responsibilities.  

Jonte Shaw said as co-CEOs, he and Liam are both very similar in terms of values and temperament.  

This means each of us is a kind of “backup” person for the other,” he said. 

 “If one of us is sick or is going on holiday, the other can easily take on their responsibilities and can be trusted by the other to make similar decisions, interact with stakeholders ina similar way and have a similar leadership style. 

Liam Shaw said that people who know Jonte well often feel that they too know him well, even if they’ve never met, and vice versa. 

This has its advantages when it comes to our careers because both of us benefit from the other’s reputation, and people assume that if one of us is good at something, then the other is going to be good at it too - which generally is true, fortunately,” said Liam. 

The Shaw brothers know startups inevitably face challenges, and it’s rare they’ll get through a work day and not have an obstacle arise.  

Jonte ShawJonte Shaw (pictured right) says overcoming difficulties at work is no big deal for the two of them.

Our process for dealing with challenges is if it has to do with the whole company, we will talk about it, do an analysis, and then make a joint decision and implement it,” he said.

"If it’s a challenge that is to do with our personal area of responsibility, we will just deal with it ourselves and not involve the other. We’ve both got enough on our plates to not involve the other in every single problem that we each encounter."

Liam said they both generally see eye-to-eye on most things, but when they do disagree on something, they’ll discuss it until a course of action is agreed upon. 

We’ve never really encountered a challenge that we couldn’t come to an agreement on or where we didn’t respect the other person’s point of view enough not to compromise,” Liam Shaw said. 

When it comes to more personal things, we are good at bringing them up with each other and making sure we share how we’re feeling.  

There are a lot of ups and downs in startup life, and because we’re brothers, co-founders and co-CEOs, we’re lucky to both have someone that knows pretty much exactly what the other is going through. 

In terms of the market, Jonte notes that OOH is on the rise, with 9% YoY growth projected for the next four years, which is impressive for a traditional media format, he says. 

“Our latest publicly shared growth metric was 299% YoY revenue growth. Our category of Advocate-OOH is showing no signs of slowing down,” he said. 

“We can see that Wrappr is going to become a much more important part of brand’s media plans over the next one to three years because of the media advantages we have over traditional formats, as well as our environmental and social benefits aligning more strongly with brands who want to do more with their advertising budgets.” 

Liam Shaw said economic uncertainty means marketing budgets will come under pressure in 2023 and 2024, and the best defence for CMOs against budget pressure is marketing effectiveness data.  

“We are expecting to see media owners who don’t have rigorous, trustworthy measurement systems that can’t tell their clients how many customers they’re delivering them to lose share to those that do,” he said. 

We think that Wrappr will benefit from this trend due to our LIFT measurement system that determines how many additional customers a campaign has delivered and has this independently verified. 

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