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567899-(1).jpgBillboards and advertisements are almost everywhere we look. Some of these advertisements are large, while some are small. Some of these messages are expensive, while others are cheap to produce. You will find these advertisements in, on, or around billboards, television, internet, magazines, radio, newspapers, sporting arenas, fliers, shirts, hats, fuel pump toppers, banners pulled by airplanes, blimps, boats/ferries, taxis, buses, trucks … WHOA !!!  Hold the train; did I say trucks???

Before we get into the purpose of advertising, let’s look at the root definition of advertising, marketing, and billboards, according to Merriam Webster.

Definition of advertising

ad·​ver·​tis·​ing | \ ˈad-vər-ˌtī-ziŋ \

1 : the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements

2 : advertisments a magazine full of advertising

3 : the business of preparing advertisments for publication or broadcast looking for a job in advertising

Definition of marketing

mar·​ket·​ing | \ ˈmär-kə-tiŋ \

1: the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market did most of her marketing in local stores

2: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service New automobiles are the subject of intense marketing.

3: an aggregate (see aggregate entry 3 sense 1) of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer The company will increase its budget for marketing.

Definition of billboard

bill·​board | \ ˈbil-ˌbȯrd \

(Entry 1 of 2)

verb

: a flat surface (as of a panel, wall, or fence) on which bills are posted specifically: a large panel designed to carry outdoor advertising

billboarded; billboarding; billboards

Definition of billboard 

(Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to promote by a conspicuous display on or as if on a billboards                              

Whenever I see semi-trucks, straight trucks, vans, or any other commercial vehicle adorning a company’s logo or some other form of an advertising medium, it takes me back to the private carrier where my career in the transportation industry started.

As a driver for a private carrier, it was drilled into our heads that we were not just driving a truck. We are driving a billboard that delivered our products. I am thankful for all of the extra emphasis on the importance of how we as drivers were the face of the company while we were on the highway or delivering products to our customers.

I also remember meeting a private investigator who was hired by various truck lines to follow the carrier’s drivers to see if they were driving in a safe, courteous, and efficient manner in accordance with traffic laws/company policies. In fact, one of my fellow Team Run Smart driver Linda Caffee shared a story with me about one of these private investigators following her and Bob. Everyone poke Linda a little about this story, so she does a blog on it.

The reason most of these items are on my mind comes from an incident that occurred recently. Here is how the situation unfolded... I am driving my Cascadia North on I-85 in Blacksburg SC, and there is an inordinate amount of road construction for the last few years. Most of I-85 in South Carolina have speed limits of 65, 60, 55, and a small section around Spartanburg is 70mph.

Right now, in Spartanburg, SC, they have signs up for trucks to use the left lane because the right lane is actually the shoulder and is not designed to be carrying the weight of semi-trucks, plus it has a sharp drop off into the ditch. Currently, there is a short section which is 45mph, and the lanes are really narrow with signs indicating for trucks to stay in the left lane. This is where a semi-truck decided it was a great idea to pass me in the right-hand lane at 72 mph. Yes, 72 mph in a 45mph construction zone and in the wrong lane. What makes this stand out was another semi-truck did the same thing right behind the first truck with their company prominently displayed on their trailers. 

The reason I knew their speed was my Detroit Assurance Collision Mitigation System displays the speed of the vehicle ahead on my dash readout. All of this took me back to my first job where they drilled into us that we were pulling billboards and I thought what message were these two trucks sending me:

  1. Are these drivers not able to read

  2. Do they not care about what they read

  3. Are they simply going to do whatever suits them 

To me, this is a reflection upon the company they drive for, the driver themselves, and unfortunately, the entire trucking industry. Because the public generally remembers what they see when it is being done incorrectly and not the 100’s of trucks that drove correctly. 

Mind you, I have to constantly remind myself of the message that was drilled into my head from the place I started my driving career; I am indeed driving a billboard. The vehicles we drive are large, imposing, and when things go wrong and downright deadly. It is easy to get swept up in the moment and do the wrong thing, which is why I remind myself that I am driving a billboard. The billboard represents the company I drive for Albert Transport, myself, and the rest of the trucking industry while I ply my trade on our nation’s highways.  Please think of this as we try to conduct our business safely.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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