If you’ve travelled around the province over the past while, you might’ve spotted a transport truck sporting a bold, bright and beautiful design.
The 53-foot tractor trailer, owned by Akita Equipment and Auto Transport (a family-owned trucking company established in 2007) is emblazoned with the MusicNL logo (and social media handles and website address) and a map of the province in green, red, blue and orange. And it’s helping the organization get noticed, in a big way.
A membership-based organization that promotes and supports local artists by connecting them to professional development opportunities, funding programs and more, many already know about MusicNL’s mission and the musicians they represent. But the partnership with Akita Equipment helps spread this awareness much further (and it’s a win-win-win for the business, MusicNL, and their membership).
The partnership came about, says MusicNL CEO Rhonda Tulk-Lane, in perhaps an unlikely place – the local Costco, where her husband and Chris Howlett, President/Owner of Akita Equipment (who are acquaintances), were both shopping one day.
“They banged into each other…and Chris says to my husband, ‘Hey, we got some trucks. You should tell your wife to call me, we’d like to brand it.’”
Tulk-Lane says such a partnership hadn’t even crossed her mind, and she was thrilled for the opportunity.
“And Chris is such a big supporter of the music sector and the local music scene,” she adds.
The striking design, which adorns both sides of the trailer, was created by local musician and graphic artist Jerry Stamp (who was selected after MusicNL released an RFP to their membership).
“He really did a great job. Sometimes if you’re driving by, you’ve only got seconds, so it totally (has) that fun vibe with all the colours…we’re really enjoying it. We think it’s eye-catching” says Tulk-Lane.
“I think Jerry did a great job capturing what you need in a few seconds on a drive by looking at a trailer,” she adds with a laugh.
The truck hit the road last spring and also appeared at several local events over the summer, including music festivals, the Hurricane Fiona relief concert, and VOCM’s Block the Bus event (in support of the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland And Labrador).
For the Akita team, they hope to help attract some new fans for MusicNL’s membership, while promoting Newfoundland and Labrador music and the province as a whole.
“This project with MusicNL has been a blast! My husband, Chris, is a big fan of the music industry in Newfoundland and has always tried to support our local talent. We realize the significance our trucks can have, as they are rolling billboards. Chris thought, what a great way for the province and the country to become aware of MusicNL and all the amazing members…Once the artist was chosen, we had our guys from Auto Trim Design make the design come to life and jump off the trailer,” says Amy Howlett of Akita Equipment.
“Since then, this trailer can be seen around the country. She made her first trip to Ontario back in October and Chris and I received a number of messages saying she looked great. That told us the project was a success! MusicNL was being seen everywhere.”
The truck has made several more trips to Ontario since, and Howlett says considering the attention it’s getting, they’re in no rush to remove the design.
And for Tulk-Lane, that’s music to her ears.
“It was definitely a fun project,” she says.
“Sometimes you’ve got your marketing plan, you’ve got your ideas; these things that you didn’t really think about just happen because of the relationships you have – and banging into people at Costco!”