What 'Trump in a truck' means for the American Trucking Associations

Mocking memes or not, the 'Trump Truck' event was a net positive for the American Trucking Associations, said EVP of communications and public affairs Sue Hensley.

(image via the American Trucking Associations)
(image via the American Trucking Associations)

The American Trucking Associations got an unexpected surge of attention once photos of a very animated President Donald Trump in a truck cab went viral after the organization’s White House meeting last Thursday.

The event was picked up by nearly every major news outlet—and even turned into a children’s book by BuzzFeed—largely due to Trump’s enthusiastic reaction to the two semi-trucks parked in front of the White House.

Sue Hensley, EVP of communications and public affairs at the American Trucking Associations, chatted with PRWeek about what the viral attention means for the American Trucking Associations and the trucking industry at large. 

What was the goal of the meeting at the White House?
We’ve been talking to individuals at the White House on the policy side about members of our industry meeting with the president because the trucking industry, pardon the pun, drives the economy. We had about a dozen top drivers and some of our top industry CEOs go. It was a great representation of the industry to be able to talk about healthcare, regulations that impact the industry, infrastructure, even tax reform. We want to be able to tell our story and advocate and communicate with this White House about how some of these issues impact our industry.

Did you expect the event photos to be so attention-grabbing?
We knew there would be great visuals. We knew when the president chose to wear the "I Love Trucks" button that it would be a great visual that really spoke to our industry and our members would appreciate it.

I believe this was the first time in the history of the White House there have been semi-tractor trailers parked outside the portico other than moving trucks. There's no better visual than to have those trucks in front of the White House. Then, having the president get up into the truck certainly took it to another level. There’s a whole host of different images and fantastic content we were able to push out over multiple channels.

What about the BuzzFeed children’s book with the photos?
It’s a little tongue in cheek, but I think it's all in good humor and speaks to how great the visuals were from the event.

Are you using the attention to promote any Trucking Associations campaigns or messages?
One of the things we’re actually going to promote is the "I Love Trucks" button. Typically, we have those available in our store, but we’ll push it out beyond our members broadly for those who would want to wear the "I Love Trucks" button that [Trump] wore.

It was a very positive event, and it lays a strong groundwork for us to continue to advocate in a strong way on some of the issues coming down the pike, including infrastructure. It's certainly positive from an image standpoint for the trucking industry, as well.

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