Even though I've never actually eaten from one, I'm a big fan of food trucks. I think the concept is brilliant. It's hip. It's niche. The eye candy acts like a magnet and piques curiosity. It creates loyal cadres of fans. And it can make some real money while also creating great publicity.
I saw an article recently where fashion brand Cole Haan started to sell shoes out of a food truck. And, earlier this year, we wrote about how Ally Financial was teaming with different retailers to create events to promote its brand and financing products. Why not marry the two ideas and create a lending truck?
The truck could be used for retail partnerships, like Ally's previous campaign, and it can be used in front of dealerships, or anywhere. It's the beauty of a food truck. All you need is a parking space and you have an instant pop-up retail location. A lender can drive social media integration by using Twitter and Facebook to let people know where the truck is going to be. Cole Haan went the extra step of having entertainers who mingled around its shoe truck to create a party-like atmosphere. A lender wouldn't necessarily have to do that all the time, but it could give out ice cream, coffee, or other snacks to passersby.
I was walking by Madison Square Garden one day this summer and I saw a food truck parked on Eighth Avenue. The truck was painted with the logos of a brand I'd never heard of before, but there was a line of people waiting to get whatever it was giving away. It turned out to be espresso or some other type of specialty coffee, but that didn't really matter. Just having the truck there attracted curious New Yorkers who walked up and wanted to know what was being given away.
A lending food truck transitions a brand from traditional marketing, like television ads, to live events. And live event marketing is experiential. It's more likely to create a lasting impression with a consumer. Think about the possibilities of having lending trucks that can promote a brand, take applications, and even direct people to the nearest car dealerships.
That's the kind of food truck I'd stop and visit.