Friday, June 26, 2015

‘Don’t Like Trucks? Stop Buying Stuff’ and the making of a new slogan

There was a moment, sometime last spring, when OOIDA Life Member David Fife of Stone Cold Express decided he’d had enough.

Enough of hearing all the negative stuff about his chosen profession of trucking, something he’s been doing for the last 28 years.

“I was tired of hearing people complain about trucks,” the Wolcottville, Ind., resident said in an interview with Land Line on Friday. “’You’re in our way, you shouldn’t be out here when we’re out here.’ So I thought, what can I put on the trailer that voices my opinion without being too derogatory. Something that will put a little smile on faces.”

Chances are, you’ve probably already seen the response Fife and wife Rhonda came up with, or at least a slightly modified version of it. Here’s the original design they came up with:

Look familiar? Maybe you’ve seen the modified version that uses the word “stuff” instead. That change was one Fife came up with too, at the request of one of his shippers. The CEO of the company he hauls freight for said that while he appreciated the sentiment, he asked if Fife would be willing to tweak the message a little bit, “for image purposes.”

“My wife and I talked about it, and stuff seemed to be more accurate and not so derogatory, so we altered the sign to say what it says today.”

Once they settled on the message, Fife said he got together with the folks at Aardvark Vinyl Signs in Angola, Ind., to make the vision a reality. The end result was a two-and-a-half by three-and-a-half decal that almost completely covered one of his trailer doors.

Since he’s put the sign up, Fife said the response has been overwhelmingly positive, both from other truckers and even from four-wheeled motorists. Well, all except for this one guy on the Beltway outside Indianapolis.

“One guy gave me the bird. That was the only derogatory feedback I’ve had,” he said. “Maybe he was just having a bad day, or his wife ran away with a truck driver. Who knows?”

Both the original and the updated versions got plenty of attention, on the road and on social media, and eventually caught the eye of the Association. The board liked it so much, they decided to start mass-producing decals and prints of the message. You may have seen Spirit tour truck driver Jon Osburn passing them out at MATS or other places on the tour route.

“I’m just glad OOIDA decided to go with it,” Fife said. “It’s flattering and I’m honored an organization of their magnitude (would adopt) something my wife and I came up with.”

Fife said while the attention is nice, he hopes the message will resonate with people outside of the trucking industry.

“Why don’t you stop and think about it for a minute?” he said. “What would you have if we weren’t out here? Don’t condemn us because it’s a big sacrifice for us not to be home… It’s not like we’re all uneducated and we couldn’t do anything else. We chose to do this. It’s an honor to drive a truck and to help keep America moving and to satisfy everyone’s need for groceries or clothing or what have you. So don’t take it for granted.”