Crystal Blue’s Aly revolution.

Click to enlarge

Photo credit: Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air

The back of Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating  & Air’s service trucks features a picture of an English bulldog. Meet 8-year-old Aly, who has turned more than a few heads on Sacramento streets.

“She’s been a shop dog since she was a puppy,” Crystal Blue co-owner Tim Sjobeck says. “I would take her out to home shows and other events. Everybody kept asking about my dog and things slowly grew from there.”

The company relocated from the Bay Area 2 1/2 years ago and focuses on service work and does some new home construction. It came up with a marketing piece that shows Aly drooling and has the phrase “Got a Leak?” below her.

“The response to that was phenomenal,” Sjobeck says. “Someone said why not put the dog on the truck. My dad (Crystal Blue co-owner Mylo Paisley) and I fought this for awhile. We thought our branding was more of the crystal blue color, our icon and water. Aly ended up on the back of the truck and the rest is history.”

How popular is Aly? On a recent service call a Crystal Blue tech looked out the window and thought his truck was being tampered with. “He gets out there and the people are getting their picture taken next to Aly on the truck,” Sjobeck says. “She’s become a valuable tool.”

Click to enlarge

Photo credit: Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air

Aly’s image is on the back of the company’s fleet of Ford 350 mini box vans. Crystal Blue, whose “Customer service the way it is supposed to be” slogan also is featured prominently on the vans, previously used an Isuzu NPR van but downsized when it moved to Sacramento due in part to the city’s use of truck scales.

“Sacramento has scales on the main highway,” Sjobeck explains. “Going through the scales costs time, money and fuel. You could try and go around them, but that slows you down and is costly. With the mini box vans we can avoid the scales and they provide enough room where the techs can operate comfortably and aren’t too cramped.”  

Sjobeck is a big proponent of creative marketing. While Aly’s current truck wrap (done by Uptown Graphics and Signs in Auburn, Calif.) continues to draw attention, Sjobeck has no plans to stop there. Three more wraps with different Aly slogans are in the works. Customers and sponsors will have the opportunity to pick the next Aly wrap via a Facebook promotion. Aly also has her own blog and has been featured in a local calendar. To capitalize on the traffic, Sjobeck added a smartphone QR code on the side of the trucks.

“Truck wraps are important,” he says. “I like getting customers even more involved in what you are doing. They are a part of this. People are looking for our trucks to see what is on the back of them. We’re trying to be memorable and have fun with our company.”