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The Wheels On The Bus Go $$$

By , August 17, 2011

Did you hear?

The newest way of traveling around in style isn’t with a Cadillac or Lexus anymore – it’s with a bus!

According to recent news reports, the Secret Service commissioned two new coach buses from a Tennessee bus manufacturer to chauffeur President Obama – and possibly future presidential candidates – across the United States on political tours.

The imposing Greyhound-sized buses are painted glossy black, have deeply tinted windows and decked out with flashing police lights. They also carry a hefty price tag of over $1.1 million each, much to the chagrin of an economy-weary American public.

Security experts say the one-of-a-kind coach bus has a variety of defensive advances including bulletproof windows, night vision cameras, shotguns and tear-gas cannons.

The bus will carry the president and his staff as he embarks on a tour across the Midwest to shore up support from disillusioned voters ahead of the upcoming elections.

After reading about how much media interest this new bus generated for the Obama tour, it became apparent that the point of the bus wasn’t merely to drive Washington politicians from place to place. It was to attract public interest in the tour as well.

This clever idea may not only prove beneficial for lawmakers like Obama in the political sense – this might be the perfect way for business people like us to market our agendas as well.

Here’s why.

The fact is, every business needs a “coach bus” of its own – a high-profile object that people can easily identify and associate with their business.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an oversized, gas-guzzling coach bus. It could be in the form of a business card cut into a certain shape. Or an on-hold phone message done in a creative way. Or even a uniquely colored shopping bag that customers can easily recognize.

Here are some Ptex Pointers that highlight how other famous companies have created memorable “coach buses” of their own that really grabbed the public’s attention – perhaps these ideas can inspire you to design one of your own.

  • Burma Shave: This shaving cream company gained popularity in the 1940s for its advertising gimmick of posting humorous rhyming poems on six small, consecutive highway billboard signs such as this one: “You’ve laughed / At our signs / For many a mile / Be a sport / Give us a trial / Burma-Shave.” While billboards may be costly, I see no reason why small businesses can’t successfully implement this concept in the form of a low-cost, striking postcard mailing.
  • Ikea: This famous furniture retailer decided to display their wares rather creatively – by transforming over 600 New York bus stop shelters into small living rooms, replete with decorative couches, curtains and end tables. Although you may not be in the furniture business, you can most certainly adapt this idea by setting up an “outdoor office” for the day on your sidewalk that’ll allow passerby to get a glimpse of what your company actually does.
  • The Goodyear Blimp: This helium-filled airship was created in 1925 for advertising purposes by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Today, the bulbous blimp’s iconic image can be found in works of art, on clothing and even as background elements in video games. For those seeking a blimp-like alternative, why not rent a hot air balloon for the day and fly over commercial areas displaying a banner with your logo?

In all, while you may not be able to have President Obama’s new, $1.1 million coach bus to generate publicity and attention for your business, there is an upside to all this – the method you choose can be just as effective for a fraction of the price.

Onwards and upwards,

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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