“We don’t only deliver freight. We deliver awareness.”
That’s what Jim Barrett, president and CEO of Road Scholar Transport, likes to say about the Dunmore, Pennsylvania-based carrier’s “awareness fleet.”
It all started with a pink tractor-trailer in 2007. Barrett was unable to attend a walk to support Breast Cancer Awareness with his family on a Saturday. He promised them he would do something “big” to make up for it. A week later, a pink trailer supporting the American Breast Cancer Foundation rolled onto the lot.
It was the birth of a program to partner with organizations and customers to raise awareness with rolling billboards for dozens of affiliations, groups, and causes. The company has done more than 50 attention-getting, vinyl-wrapped awareness trucks, for organizations such as Equines for Freedom, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in every color of the rainbow. More than 40 are still on the road.
The latest one rolled out by the Dunmore, Pennsylvania-based carrier is dedicated not to a particular charitable organization but to all of those everyday heroes keeping us on the road to recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic: doctors, nurses, EMTs and firefighters, law enforcement officers, utility workers, sanitation workers and scientists. And, of course, truck drivers.
Choosing charities for trailer wraps
Bridget Barrett, who works in customer service at the company her parents started in 1988, is responsible for working with the organizations to design the wraps. She told HDT that many of the organizations featured have some personal connection to the family, company, or its employees.
For instance, her nephew has a tumor-growing disorder, so they teamed up with the Children’s Tumor Foundation and wrapped a trailer with a photo of him on the side. “We have an alopecia trailer because one of our customer’s granddaughters suffers from alopecia,” and the trailer features photos of that granddaughter.
“Some [causes] are near and dear to us,” she said. There are several devoted to organizations that benefit veterans, and a 9/11 memorial trailer listing all the victims’ names.
The most moving one for Bridget Barrett personally is the trailer raising awareness of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Jude Zayac was three months old when he died of SIDS while at daycare – the same daycare as Bridget Barrett’s daughter. His parents started the Jude Zayac Foundation, which holds an annual fundraising run called Jog for Jude.
“He was such a beautiful baby. It’s probably the most moving trailer when I see it. That was just so close to home.”
While initially Road Scholar had to seek out charities to work with, she said, as word of the program has spread, that’s changing.
“We now have organizations that reach out to us and say, ‘We’re looking to spread some awareness for our cause, would you be interested?’ So, we do our due diligence and check on the charity to make sure they are legitimate” and work with them on a design.
Overall, Road Scholar has about 125 tractors and nearly 500 trailers, hauling a wide variety of freight, including pharmaceuticals, food, beer and wine, and specialized/expedited/high-security loads. It has received widespread praise for the ongoing awareness program from people in all facets of its business, including employees, vendors and customers.
The trailers are not only spreading visibility out on the road, but are often used in local parades and at fundraising events for the organizations.
Road Scholar’s feedback from the charitable organizations whose brands are showcased confirms that the vinyl-wrapped vehicles are raising awareness, inspiring donations, and bringing in volunteers.
The trailer wraps
Bridget Barrett usually works with the organization to develop several different designs before a final version is chosen for the wrap. The side of the trailer is generally kept bold and simple, because people won’t have a lot of time to look at it. More details like websites, taglines, and phone numbers may be put on the trailer doors, as people have more time riding behind a trailer to read that information.
For the everyday heroes wrap, she said, her family came up with the idea when, as family businesses often do, they were talking about work outside of work.
“Obviously this totally impacted our lives,” she said. “These people, everyone seems to overlook, they’re the ones everyone depends on to keep everything running – the truckers, the grocery store worker, the nurses and doctors. They’re still out there risking their lives, their families are spending less time with them because they have to spend more time to make sure everyone else is safe and are supplied with what they need. It’s sad but true that they are overlooked a lot of times.”
The final design chosen features a background with a design of the coronavirus, with photos of essential workers. A new crest, different from the usual one, was designed to match.
Doing a full-trailer wrap is a little different from the simple logo decals the company uses on its regular white trailers. Road Scholar turned to full-service printer Brand Graphic Solutions (BGS) in nearby Plymouth, Pennsylvania, which it has worked with for years to produce and install the fleet graphics on all its vehicles.
“We worked with them to choose the best product that can handle the wear and tear of driving down the road,” said Bridget Barrett. “They hold up really well.”
BGS Partner and Vice President of Sales Mark Vnuk said the company recommends Avery Dennison MPI 1105 Supercast Easy Apply RS for printed film applications like fleet wraps. It’s “going to last five years or more, even though these trucks take a beating. With all the views the trailer gets, you’re receiving a hundred times your money’s worth in wrapping a truck with it.”
To learn more about the Road Scholar Transport Awareness Program, visit https://roadscholar.com/awareness-campaign.