Monday, August 9, 2010

What message is this WV campaign “vehicle” really sending?

While driving to and from Pittsburgh this past weekend, I noticed several politicians are using a rather innovative form of outdoor advertising: tractor trailer banners. Banners with very few words in large print, normally the candidates name and the office or position they’re running for are donning mountain ridges up 1-79. While this form of outdoor advertising is obviously less expensive than outdoor boards, and builds candidate brand name awareness, what message is it subliminally conveying?

I noticed one candidate’s banners were not the same length as the tractor trailer, leaving the dirty, brown edges of the trailer peeking out and actually appearing to frame the banner. While continuing to drive back to Charleston, I couldn’t help but wonder why so many tractor trailers were empty and available for use to bear campaign signs. What did these trailers used to carry across the state, the region, or the nation? Why aren’t they in use now? Or, playing devil’s advocate, do these empty trailers represent hope for a new manufacturing industry in the Mountain State?

While this method might save a few hundred dollars when compared to outdoor boards, what other messages might is this media "vehicle" be delivering to your constituents? Just food for thought.


  1. The message is very clear -- West Virginians are too lazy or don't care enough about issues to investigate a candidate's stances. Therefore, a big trailer with their name and the office they are seeking is enough.

    When most voters go to the booth, they aren't sure who to vote for in many offices and often will choose to cast a vote for someone whose name they've heard or remembered.

    Cheap and effective. Why not use them?

  2. Brent Benjamin won with those stupid, "WHO IS BRENT BENJAMIN!?" signs all over the state (billboards and on the side of tractor trailer boxes, if I recall correctly) that gave no real clue about him or his stances.

    I doubt anyone except the most shallow of individuals care about the dirtiness of the tractor trailers that the signs happen to be on. In fact, in rural areas (I know, something you're not familiar with) large signs on the sides of barns, trailer boxes, in fields, etc. are common to getting a candidates name out there. In fact, Governor Manchin had quite a few of these up around the state (including the same route you mentioned) when he was running.

    Placing campaign ads like this is a tradition that plays better in those areas than tweeting or status updates. It shows an inventive way of advertising, typically done by local supporters on locally owned land and by way of local organizations.

  3. It depends one what's on them. I worked with a company a few years back that does this for brands and it can be really effective for tracking purposes if you include a URL or number to text. Because you can geotarget the movement of the trucks and focus the ads based not only on location, but time of day. It allows for moving triangulation (if that makes sense) in a way you can't with standard static outdoor.

  4. This blog, "Politico in Stilettos" is about putting your best foot forward in politics. Anyone with a career in marketing, public relations, creative design, etc... knows that paying extremely close attention to detail is a business-critical skill. After all, it's 99% about image. Having a marketing background, I notice small things such as dirt on trailers, (it has literally nothing to do with being shallow).

    While my Father's family is from Duck, WV, I also know that several of my relatives do not, in fact, have internet. And since name recognition is goal number one in political campaigning, advertising on tractor trailers is effective. It's not the advertising "vehicle" I'm wondering about, it's the way it's presented.

  5. dear cartney,

    your love for politics is awesome. how does a man score a date with you?

  6. Diverse placement of a consistent message guarantees effective results. After all, you did notice the truck trailer message boards, didn't you? That said, presentation is everything, and I applaud your observation skills and attention to detail.

  7. I believe "uma palerma" is the correct answer to the question posed above your profile.

  8. If you’re running your business in Dubai, then it is important for you to consider outdoor banner advertising for your advertising needs. Banners are very effective and work very quickly and within few weeks you can see a surge in the number of footfalls at your shop.

    Today, advertising is a major part of the marketing efforts of a company. Even a corner shop does its advertising by putting small banners in numerous streets and other joints. The principle of marketing revolves around 4 P’s.

    • Product
    • Price
    • Place
    • Promotion

    In order to successfully achieve all the marketing objectives, it is important to choose the best medium for advertising and what’s better than outdoor banner advertising. There are numerous advantages associated with outdoor advertising that include:

    • Availability – it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year which gives maximum exposure to your potential customers.
    • It is perfect for targeting mass audiences and is also great for focusing on specific groups and ages.
    • With the advent of new digital billboards technology, outdoor advertising has improved a lot.
    • It captures your consumers on their way to the buy.