It was a happy holiday for trucking image advocates Saturday as the Udrove Humanitarian Bowl highlighted the trucking industry in a positive way.
The bowl game, which aired on ESPN Saturday, treated viewers to a number of ads and other messages portraying truckers as tech-savvy, business-minded, heroic, patriotic men and women.
In the first quarter, Joel McGinley, president of uDrove, welcomed the audience. Along with touting uDrove's smartphone based solution to help truck drivers lower costs by removing paperwork hassles on the road, he said, "We're excited to align ourselves with this bowl game in order to recognize the humanitarian efforts of the transportation industry which is the lifeblood of our economy."
In between ads for the likes of GMC and Aflac, Macy's and Taco Bell, uDrove's ad ran half a dozen times, doing a good job of both educating the public about the essentiality of the trucking industry and touting its product to truckers.
The ad showed scenic images of trucks on the road, with the voice over: "Today's economy depends on the $660 billion trucking industry, and truck drivers depend on uDrove. Trucks bring life's essentials. From hauling equipment to football games to bringing snacks and drinks for your tailgate party. To remain competitive, trucking companies are lowering costs and advancing productivity with uDrove," as it shows a trucker in his cab (safety parked) using a laptop and his smartphone to go paperless. While this touts uDrove's product, it also shows truckers as being technology-savvy businesspeople.
The Truckload Carriers Association ad, which ran in the first quarter, played up the "humanitarian" theme of the bowl by focusing on the role that many of TCA's members play in Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization that oversees an annual weeklong campaign to honor fallen veterans. Each of them volunteers to escort wreaths from Maine to more than 500 veterans cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, every year. Along the way, their convoys stop at various schools and veterans rallies as part of Wreaths Across America's mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve in the military, and teach children the value of their service.
The ad opens with music and a video of an older man walking up a driveway to the road, snow along the shoulders, wearing a yellow ribbon on his lapel. In slow motion, a truck crests the hill. The man salutes the tractor-trailer as it drives by, as a warm voice narrates, "Once a year, truck drivers across North America volunteer to drive a load of honor, respect and integrity by delivering wreaths to the cemeteries of American veterans. Truckload Carriers Association is proud to support Wreaths Across America."
It's a heart-warming ad that portrays truckers as patriotic and caring. You can see the ad at TCA's website at http://www.truckload.org/wreaths.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, viewers got a short voice-over and video of the presentation of TCA's < a="" href="http://www.truckload.org/index.asp?bid=10&archiveyear=2010&nid=204">Highway Angel of the Year award to Ruan driver Shawn Hubbard. The sports anchor announced that Hubbard was recognized for saving he life of a motorist trapped inside a burning car.
Yet another ad started out with shots of a white Walmart Freightliner on the highway. It takes an exit and parks, as boots start climbing down the steps and the door closes, you realize it's a woman in jeans and red shirt, with chin-length blond hair. That's followed with upbeat music accompanying photos of women truckers from companies such as U.S. Xpress and Con-way Truckload cross the screen with the words, "Professional," "Experienced," "Dedicated," "Pioneers." Then it cuts back to the first woman, who happens to be Ellen Voie, president of the Women in Truckers association, saying, "The Women in Trucking association salutes the women behind the wheel."