MONTREAL, Que. — Taking the bull by the horns, the Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) is launching a three-year, $150,000 marketing campaign this September. It wants teens to take a look at the trucking industry as a career choice. The primary age group is kids aged 15-19.
“It is where they are at high school, where we need to entice them toward the professional sectors,” says Marc Cadieux, director general, QTA. A secondary target is youth aged 20-24.
The campaign will pitch the different careers; ie., drivers, mechanics, sales reps, dispatchers.
Recognizing that reaching this social media-savvy demographic takes special skills, the QTA has hired the Montreal marketing company Virus1334. As its Web site says, “Virus1334 surfs on the wave and stays young. Virus1334 is the youth marketing agency that concentrates its expertise on kids from 13 to 35 years of age.”
The campaign will hit schools, Facebook, other Web sites, public transit and more. “We want to capture their attention with something that is part of their life, and keep their interest,” Cadieux says. The campaign might even manifest itself on the QTA Web site. What form that takes should be interesting.
In a more traditional touch, the QTA’s Highway Ambassadors will take the message to schools, career day fairs and truck shows.
“There are a lot of periods of visibility we will provide our Ambassadors with, more communication tools and documents that will appeal to the next generation,” Cadieux says.
Although details of the campaign were still being finalized by the QTA when Truck News went to press, Cadieux did hint that there would be catchy slogans and teasers designed to draw curious kids toward more detailed career pitches.
“The big work now is in choosing what we, and Virus1334 thinks, how do you capture the attention of the younger crowd? As the campaign goes on you might be surprised at what we do to capture people. If you don’t distinguish yourself with a good teaser, you are in a huge pool, lost in publicity,” Cadieux says.
“We have been trying for years, but we know we are not the only section of society with manpower shortages. How do we distinguish ourselves among all those in society that want to entice people to work for them? We know we are facing a lack of workers. Let’s take our position,” Cadieux adds.
One tool is a kit the QTA and Virus1334 are preparing for guidance counselors in high schools. “It presents all the opportunities in the trucking industry, encouraging (students) about different careers,” Cadieux says.
Although Montreal is a big ticket market that the QTA wants to target, it is not ignoring the other regions of the province. For them, the schools will be the most likely medium, according to Cadieux.
Other provincial trucking associations will no doubt want to follow the progress and success of this campaign.
In related news, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is a year overdue in publishing its report on its young drivers pilot program, the Programme enrichi d’accès à la conduite de véhicules lourds (enriched access program toward the driving of heavy vehicles).The pilot program ran with 40 kids aged 17 and 18 between 2011 and 2013. The idea was to see whether there was a way to get kids into trucks earlier than the usual 19 years of age, currently the minimum age for getting Class 1, 2 and 3 licences.Word from one source is that the SAAQ is going to greatly expand the program, maybe to 300 students.
Cadieux commented on the program, which is a QTA initiative: “We are resetting the project. We are working on an even more demanding program. It needs a lot of monitoring and mentoring, and a lot of money.”
As for when the SAAQ will pipe up with an announcement, Cadieux added, “We believe it will probably in in the beginning of 2016.”