#ThankATrucker and the power of inadvertent advertising
Machines v mandates
Canadians of all ages bundled up against sub-zero temperatures to line highways across the country last week, cheering and waving flags to show support for the hundreds of truckers thundering towards the capital Ottawa to protest Covid mandates.
Having dubbed those in the reportedly 70-kilometre-long Freedom Convoy a "fringe minority", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into hiding as the mighty machines poured into the city, heading for Parliament and attended by supporters from all walks of life. (Triple-jabbed Trudeau did subsequently emerge to reveal that he had tested positive for Covid, and to criticise protesters.)
The Freedom Convoy brought powerful scenes. And emblazoned across them, the names of North America's top-selling big-rig and semi-truck brands - Western Star, Peterbilt, Freightliner, International, Kenworth, and Mack.
"You Are Essential"
...was the message from Kenworth in this December 2021 #ThankADriver campaign, as delivery and health workers carried on through the Covid chaos and were applauded for it.
Way back in April 2020, Mack Trucks had already taken the #ThankATrucker hashtag with this 1'30" campaign along similar lines. Fast-forward to 2022, with essential workers coming under threat from government attempts to force Covid injections and other mandates, and the hashtags roared back, with powerful new associations.
Firing and fired up
As the Canadian Freedom Convoy brought central Ottawa to a standstill, the British government did a U-turn on its threat to fire health workers unless they took the jab, and the sound of truck engines firing across continents grew louder: #UKFreedomConvoy, #AustralianFreedomConvoy, #EuropeanFreedomConvoy.
Volvo, Scania, Renault, Mercedes and DAF lead the ranks of heavy goods vehicles in Europe.
Volvo Trucks - also in the Top 10 in North America - delivered a compelling visual stance with this 2020 campaign, perching their president atop four trucks piled on top of each other.
While many brands are keen to push their 'purpose', the truckers' movement was not media-planned.
The effects of the freedom convoys in terms of unforeseen, unplanned advertising and purpose marketing remain to be seen.
You said it, Mack....
Posted by Tree Elven on 02/02/2022
Keywords: Canadian truckers, Freedom Convoy 2022, truckers convoys, mandate protests, semi-truck brands, Mack Truck, Thank a Driver hashtag, Thank a Trucker hashtag, covid protests