The Truck Roadeo has become a national institution and an important factor in ATA's public relations in demonstrating to the public the emphasis the motor transport industry places on highway safety, proper driver selection, and training. Truck drivers, today, are with few exceptions alert and conscientious men. They are proud of their profession, as is shown by their conduct on the highways. They are aware that they are the industry's most important public relations practitioners from the moment they leave a terminal until they return to it.
The Roadeo's influence has spread far a field. It was the inspiration for the teen-age Roadeo established by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, with ATA and the Libert}' Mutual Insurance Co. as co-sponsors of the passenger-car competition for youngsters. The first "Teen-age Roadeo" brought 80,000 youngsters out for the competition. Recently, 1,500 communities provided 370,000 teen-agers who took part in this national safety program.
Another unexpected dividend developed when representatives of the U.S. Air Force were present at the Truck Roadeo. Their observers were so impressed with the demonstration of skill and safety methods that they promptly set up their own Roadeo competition involving all of their installations, most of which had large fleets of trucks. From this competition emerged 40 sectional champions who contested for their own trophies at the same time the professional truck drivers competed at the National Truck Roadeo. The Army and the Navy have also adopted the Roadeo as a safety feature in numerous camps and bases throughout the world.
Now even municipal agencies such as the Oakland, California, Fire Department have adopted the standards of safety and proficiency established as criteria of performance in setting up their own annual Roadeo. Their program is now being studied by other city fire departments with a view to adopting the Roadeo program. Commercial firms such as oil companies and insurance agencies have also set up Roadeos. Roadeos are now an annual event in Canada, Germany, and England. Other countries are setting plans in motion to hold Roadeos of their own.
Many of the Truck Roadeo champions give driving exhibitions after the national contest, so that the impact of the Roadeo program continues through the year.
The ATA awards $50 a month for a year to the national champion, $30 a month to the runners-up, and $20 a month to third-place winners.
Several of the state and national champions have become safety directors for their companies. Some have purchased their own trucks and operate them under lease to their employers. All of them have achieved a standing among their fellow workers that is enjoyed by only a few men in each field of endeavor.
The Truck Roadeo has justified the confidence of its sponsors as one of the best mediums for good public relations for the industry. It has sold the industry to the public in terms of its desire and intent to have the most skillful, dependable, considerate, capable, and thoroughly trained drivers on the road. It has served to inspire other drivers to achieve these qualities. It has saved fleet operators large sums of money in terms of drivers who don't have accidents.
It has inspired events by other groups concerned with safety. It is a continuing source of good stories appearing in newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV programs.
The Roadeo driver has benefited through the recognition given him by his company and by the industry. He has been spotlighted by the Roadeo as a person of high ideals and ability, and his future, after his driving clays are over, is assured. Many safety directors of large companies are former Roadeo drivers-the Roadeo has given them a groundwork or basis for their work in safety. The Roadeo driver also gains recognition in his community and is usually the recipient of many acts of good will.
"Emergencies Don't Waif Week
William Ruder and David Finn * Ruder & Finn Associates
The second week of October has been officially proclaimed "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week by over 300 governors and mayors. Thousands of druggists have participated in promotions and special events.
As an illustration of the events that have taken place, let's focus on a typical state. In Massachusetts, for example, the governor officially declared the week as a time to recognize the importance of home accident prevention. In Boston the fire chief and the fire commissioner awarded an "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week Trophy to the year's most heroic fireman. Some 500 first-aid kits were distributed by Boston's Whiting Milk Co. to milk-truck drivers, and about half a million "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week reminders were placed on milk bottles. Other EDW events and projects in Boston were set up by the president of the Massachusetts State Pharmaceutical Society and representatives of Johnson & Johnson, leading manufacturer of first-aid supplies and surgical dressings. An official of Johnson & Johnson served as state chairman.
* William Ruder and David Finn founded their firm in New York in 1948. Since that time it has grown to one of the largest public relations firms in the country. Clients have included such organizations as Johnson & Johnson, American Safety Razor Corporation, Monsanto Chemical Company, The Underwood Corporation, Indian Head Mills, Inc., and others. They pioneered in developing the technique of network publicity operations, utilizing local publicity for national clients. Prior to the partnership, Mr. Finn handled sales promotion for the American Artists Group, and Mr. Ruder was director of exploitation for Samuel Goldwyn Productions. Both have served together as volunteer public relations counsel to the Department of Defense, the U.N., and the Advertising Council.
Many other projects, most of them involving local druggists working together with local and state drug associations and civic groups, were conducted in Boston and in other cities during the Week.
In general the campaign was aimed at making the public safety and first-aid conscious, particularly at home, and the objectives were principally twofold:
1. To acquaint the general public with accident safeguards, first-aid fundamentals, and the importance of having the medicine cabinet stocked with the essentials that prevent a home emergency from becoming a major catastrophe.
2. To build good will for local druggists and to help them sell first-aid supplies.
Since its inception "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week has become accepted throughout the country as a major annual public-service project, and cooperating groups include the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, service groups, and various official and civic organizations. National sponsor is Johnson & Johnson.
Six months before the most recent national campaign, meetings were held to plan the over-all theme. Work immediately began on articles for national magazines whose deadlines were more than three months in advance of publication date.
A kit of 26 stories, scripts, news releases, and other material was prepared. Following is a list of the enclosures in this kit:
promotion. Editorial. Do-it-yourself page feature.
This material was used as the basis for the national and local publicity campaigns. In addition, dozens of special events were set up to take place immediately before or during the week. In New York City, for example, since the World Series took place the week before "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week, a tie-in was made with Roy Campanclla of the Brooklyn Dodgers and a plaque was presented to him at Yankee Stadium. In other cities, similar tie-in presentations were made with other outstanding major- and minor-league baseball players.
Thousands of copies of a first-aid booklet published by Johnson & Johnson were distributed by druggists. A Bantam pocketbook titled "The Complete Book of First Aid" was distributed in drug stores and other outlets by Curtis Circulation and also Johnson & Johnson.
Most of the work was done by the druggists and by others whose support they enlisted. In most cities, a professional public relations man, obtained through our Publicity Network, helped in the coordination and execution of the program. The use of local public relations people was particularly helpful in that it was possible to have a local publicity man, known to local media and to civic and community leaders, undertake a saturation publicity and promotion program. In addition, our office in New York City directed the national campaign.
Whereas, it is the duty of ever}' citizen to contribute to his own family's safety, by being fully prepared to deal with these home accidents, and to take note of the importance of First-Aid practices, but to replenish their supplies with essential items commonly used in First-Aid emergencies, since recognizing and being able to administer First-Aid promptly can contribute to the well-being of every citizen of our State and of the Nation, as a whole.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my
Over 300 governors and mayors issued official EDW proclamations. Considerable publicity accompanied each local proclamation. For example, in Dallas, the mayor's proclamation signing was covered by three TV stations, four radio stations, and two newspapers.
The suburban mayors were photographed in the Detroit mayor's office affixing their names in a mass proclamation. In addition to extensive Michigan radio and TV coverage, it rated a five-column story in one Detroit paper and a four-column story in another.
In all major cities tie-ins were made with public service organizations of all kinds.
In Birmingham, the Jaycees and the police department's motorcycle squad conducted accident-prevention demonstrations in schools throughout the area. In Baltimore, 3,500 employees of Western Electric participated in first-aid classes held during the Week. In Rochester, N.Y., the Chamber of Commerce exhibited a skeleton in a wheel chair with a huge banner reading, "This Could Happen to You-Emergencies Don't Wait."
In big cities and small towns, the patterns of cooperation among civic groups was the same. In Charlotte, N.C., support came from the governor, the mayor, the Red Cross First Aid Director, and a Boy Scout executive, to mention just a few. No wonder then that the Charlotte Post ran three "EDW" articles during the Week, and other major stories appeared in the Charlotte Observer and Charlotte News.
An extensive cooperative newspaper campaign was set up in which local druggists, drug associations, and Johnson & Johnson participated. In many cities this campaign resulted in large numbers of full-page ads. In some cities, newspapers put out special "Emergencies Don't Wait" sections. Full page newspaper mats and newspaper copy were supplied for use in these sections. Posters and display material were supplied as part of a special "Emergencies Don't Wait" Week package distributed to druggists.
Johnson & Johnson salesmen, local druggists, and others working on the campaign were supplied with regular bulletins on the progress of the project. These bulletins served to keep the participant informed, inspire enthusiasm, and also to exchange ideas.