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The Adventures of the Traveling Bluff Yard Ramp

It always takes marketing genius to come up with unique solutions. At Bluff Manufacturing, our yard ramps ship out weekly to different locations throughout the United States. These gargantuan yard ramps measure 6 – 7 feet in width, 30-36 feet in length and weigh up to 7,000 pounds with capacities ranging to 60,000 pounds. Because of its unique shape, size and weight, these ramps are shipped upright on their sides on an open trailer bed.

Borrowing from a brilliant ad campaign executed by Travelocity and their traveling Gnome, the marketers at Bluff Manufacturing had a “Eureka” moment when they realized that right before their very eyes stood a marketing opportunity as big as the yard ramps themselves! We could be sending our yard ramps across the country with a message. And that’s exactly what we did! We made a big statement.

Our yard ramps cross the country to their final home to be of service in many industries, so why not make the most of that and create a traveling banner? Of course, businesses have used moving banner ads for a long time. We aren’t creating a new marketing idea, just using an existing situation to gain some marketing ground. And just like the Southwest Airlines slogan, ‘You are now free to move about the country,’ we decided that our ramps could do double duty work as they travelled freely to their final working place.

Bringing the idea to life took some collaboration, creativity and cooperation from different groups. We got some much needed help from our friendly, professional freight brokers, C&H Logistics who helped us work out the details for this project.  First and foremost, it was imperative for us to ensure that we were within interstate transportation guidelines. As always, safety comes first at Bluff and once we were assured it could be done securely, we went about getting our Texas-size banner designed. Heather at C&H referred us to 858 Graphics, a San Diego based company that makes high quality, heavy-duty banners for requests such as ours.

Our banner was unique. Heavy duty fabric with maximum number of attachment points to secure it to the banner, and reinforced webbed ribbing sewn though the center of the banner in order to allow grommet placement along the center line. In fact the grommetting requirements for our banner were so unique that the giant Bluff Banner had to make a detour to The City of Angels in order to have the center grommets installed.  The banner needed to be secured strongly onto the yard ramps and the grommetting ensured that the banner didn’t create a ‘parachute’ effect. So, after months of creativity, our unique marketing piece was delivered and it was time to put the banner to the test. It had to survive its long haul trips come rain, shine or hail. And in Texas, we know that all of the above mentioned weather conditions are possible on any given day.

With an experienced driver (who also happened to have a great sense of adventure) behind the wheel, the banner was secured firmly on the yard ramp and loaded on the truck. The banner undertook its maiden voyage from our facility in Fort Worth, Texas to Miami, Florida while the entire Bluff team waited for details of its voyage.

The Bluff banner withstood a tropical storm to report for duty 3 days after leaving Ft. Worth. We will be tracking the banner’s trips on our Facebook page. Should you see it along a stretch of highway, honk and wave to the driver and post a comment on our wall. This is the stuff marketing legends are made of! So, watch out for our Bluff banners. Next time you see a rig hauling one of our yard ramps you might just see a banner that reads “Another Bluff Yard Ramp on its way to work.”