Truckers carry the message to millions
By Sgt. Jimmie Perkins
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | October 18, 2002
Marine Corps Recruiting Command --
On any given day up to 180 million drivers take to the 4 million miles of roads, avenues and interstates spread across the United States. Enter the Marine Corps and truckers nationwide. Starting this fall motorists on America's highways and byways may see something different coming up in their review mirrors, semi-trucks towing big blue trailers emblazoned with images of the Corps.
It's called the 1000 Trucks campaign. It's big, it's ambitious, and like the service for which it promotes, it's innovative. United States Marine Corps marketing efforts have traditionally relied on posting billboards as Public Service Announcements.
The 1000 Trucks campaign is aimed at enlisting the support of the commercial trucking industry to post "rolling billboards" that cross America's highways and cities each day. This goal to have 1000 trucks wrapped with Marine Corps images and messages. It is scheduled to run over the next two years.
"It's really a campaign used for public service awareness about the Marine Corps," said Capt. C. Derek Campbell, Marketing Operations Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. "We can have our graphics, icons and symbols out there where key influencers and young men and women in our target market can be inspired about their Marine Corps."
Some of the trailers are already hitting the road and according to one driver, the reaction he gets is quite positive.
"The other truckers going by honk their horns and give me the thumbs up. A lot of them are former Marines, I hear it over the C.B. radio," said John Peterman, a driver for Bar-Nunn Trucking. "Drivers will pass me on one side, then slow down and pass on the other side to see the whole truck."
The program is designed to provide the Marine Corps a low cost alternative to standard billboards that will extend the reach of the recruiting message. The Marine Corps will get more for their money with the rolling billboards. The program wraps three sides of each trailer on the road. A traditional billboard costs about $5000 a month in major markets. The moving billboards will be used up to 5 years with a one-time cost of $1200 for all 3 sides to be posted. Also the cost is limited to the materials used to cover the trailers because the private trucking companies have donated the space as a public service.
"Many of the trucking companies are coming to us to participate. From the independently owned companies and individual drivers all the way up to the large companies with fleets of trucks," said Campbell. "In fact at one major company, Bar-Nunn, all four of its top executives are all former Marines, so they wanted to be a part of the program."
And if the purpose of the program is to create public awareness, recognition, and provide images that inspire the public about its Marines, the Corps can already claim one success.
"I'm not a Marine, I was in the Air Force, but to haul this trailer gives me a lot of pride, it feels great, it feels patriotic," said Peterman.