Let's discuss the PT Cruiser first, since its sole purpose is to do nothing but grab attention. It's not loaded with tools; no, this is loaded with college students who get to drive the PT Cruiser around town.
“The PT Cruiser is used primarily for show,” says Chris Corley, owner of the Greenville, S.C., plumbing and heating firm. “It's seen all over town and we get a lot of 'saw your PT Cruiser the other day' comments.”
There really is not much science to who these college students are. Corley is the parent of four college students, so it's easy to give each the keys when they are home from school.
In addition, Corley's dispatcher also drove the car recently for about six months while taking morning classes at a local college. Corley will even drive it, too, but that's not his preference since he feels odd driving a vehicle with his picture on it.
“The idea is to keep it on the road as much as possible and get it parked in areas that show it off,” Corley adds. “It's working because a surprising number of our new customers refer to it as the reason they called.”
The service truck obviously has a business purpose inside, but is just as eye-catching on the outside. Corley has 11 trucks with the same look as the one we've included. That's Corley himself pictured on the truck. His old advertising had a graphic of a man in a similar pose.
“But I wanted a real live person in that pose,” Corley says. “I figured I could either hire a model, take the chance on using an employee who could potentially leave, or use someone who I figured was going to stay around awhile.”
While Corley's friends may give him some good-natured grief for using himself, he says the feedback has been positive.
“One first-time customer commented that if I was willing to put my face on the truck, I must be willing to stand behind my work,” he adds.
Corley is very deliberate about branding his company. His business started almost 20 years ago as a new construction plumbing company, but has moved to service only over the past nine years. In addition to plumbing and heating, Corley also added electrical.
As a result, Corley's Yellow Pages advertising is consistent with the image pictured on his trucks and the PT Cruiser. “We have seen tremendous benefits from the advertising we use on our trucks,” he adds. “Plus, we essentially have moving billboards all over our service area. For about the cost of one month's rent on a well-located billboard, we can wrap a truck and get 60 months of advertising out of it.”