What’s the best way to campaign for Emmy nominations? Themed Food Truck Promotions, of course!

House of cards food truckJust ask Netflix. The company recently promoted their acclaimed show “House of Cards” for Emmy consideration with a free lunch from a gourmet food truck for any eligible voter. As a clever tie-in to the show, the truck masqueraded as Freddy’s BBQ, a fictional barbeque restaurant frequented by the character Frank Underwood, played by Kevin House of cards food truckSpacey. The House of Cards food truck was not only a great success it is also an example of food truck advertising done right.

While not the first show to use a food truck promotion (HBO’s “Dexter” once used an ice cream truck and Netflix also previously set up frozen banana stands to promote Arrested Development), this particular food truck went the extra mile to impress. “I appreciate your vote,” adorned the rented food truck, custom designed by food truck industry leaders, Roadstoves, along with menacing images of Underwood and his wife, played by Robin Wright. They didn’t skimp on the fare, either, offering ribs from the Rollin’ Rib BBQ food truck and were said to have even made the occasional home delivery to certain voters.

Most importantly, the promotional food truck, along House of cards food truckwith other marketing efforts, resulted in nine nominations overall. “House of Cards” also made Emmy Award history, for being the first digitally distributed series to earn a major nomination. Not bad for a 10 day food truck rental and a little bit of marketing know-how.

But did Netflix’ campaigning go too far with their food truck promo stunt? The TV academy currently has no rules or limitations in place. And even if it did, it is probably best answered by Robin Wright’s character on the show, Claire Underwood, “my husband doesn’t apologize, not even to me.”

Be sure to catch The 65th Primetime Emmy® Awards this Sunday and see how they fare.

Update:
Congratulations to “House of Cards” and David Fincher for the Best Directing win at the Emmys! “House of Cards” also won for Casting and Cinematography at the Creative Arts Emmys.

Microsoft’s Food Truck

Microsoft's Food Truck

Microsoft’s Food Truck

Check out Microsoft’s recently launched “Meet & Eat” ad campaign. Utilizing multiple food trucks throughout the country, Window’s OS mobile phones have a new marketing platform. Partnering with RoadStoves (www.roadstoves.com) for the food trucks, graphic wraps, and logistics, this new food truck advertising campaign brings the “gourmet street food” niche to a whole new level.

Food Truck Advertising

Advertising on Food Trucks has become big business. Fortune 500 companies such as Verizon, Frito-Lay, and gaming conglomerate NAMCO are just a few that have tossed their hats into the ring. Considered one of the most direct brand to consumer experiences, the onslaught of “gourmet” catering trucks with corporate branding have taken cities by storm.

At the helm of this trend is Los Angeles based RoadStoves. Food truck advertising has been a staple of their “soup to nuts” services since inception. With clients ranging from Frito-Lay to ESPN, branded food trucks have been seeing rolling city streets across the U.S. Advertising on food trucks, however, is not easy. The patchwork system of truck owners, truck leasing companies, commissaries, and different city, county, and state regulations make the service tricky. Additionally, operating a “corporate food truck” requires immense attention to brand management.

Looking ahead, the growth of the food truck industry throughout the U.S., Canada, and now slowly branching out to Europe and the Middle East is without question expanding the opportunities for advertising on food trucks. Whether seeking food trucks solutions through RoadStoves (www.roadstoves.com) or another service provider, be sure to review their client list, past corporate food truck launches, and strategy going forward to execute the “branded food truck” of you or your clients choice.

As far as “wrapping” catering trucks in corporate logos, typically the process involves simply applying a graphic vinyl (i.e. “3M” vinyl) over a period of a few days. Some damage to the underlying paint on the catering truck may occur, so when pricing out this service, be sure to quote the design, application, removal, and potential paint damage to the food truck. There are multiple “branding” companies, also check their client list and make sure they’re aware of the various permits on the food truck’s exterior that must remain visible and intact.

Finally, when staffing and executing a “corporate branded food truck”, be sure to inquire about the experience and backgrounds of the driver, cook, and brand ambassadors who will be representing the company being promoted via the “branded” food truck. This is the client’s “first and last” interaction via the food truck with their desired customers. Make sure the people with whom they interact properly represent the client.

Renting a Food Truck

Renting a catering truck. Lot’s to figure out. First of all, depending on the city in which you plan to operate your food truck, there’s a myriad of regulations you have to sift through. City, County, State, and Federal regulation all play a part. In this article we’ll examine some key elements.  Additionally, we’ll briefly examine other key considerations such as the truck, commissary, and business plan.

Regulations. It’s a big, bad scary word for some, but it’s a functional reality of operating a food truck. Here are the main keys to remember: Vendor Permit, Health Permit, and DMV. What it boils down to is this, you must have a “vendor permit” to sell food on the streets, your food truck must have a “health permit” because you’re feeding the public, and you’re using a mobile vehicle so you must have all DMV requirements met (car registration, auto insurance, etc.). If you keep those key elements in mind, the “regulations” involved in food truck rentals isn’t so bad.

Commissary. To some this means a “commercial kitchen”, to food truck owners it’s a parking and service facility required for all food truck rentals. RoadStoves (www.roadstoves.com) is widely known as the only gourmet food truck rental company that owns a fleet of catering trucks, plus its own commissary. When pricing out rentals from there or anywhere, be sure to ask whether commissary costs are included in the food truck rental price.

Finally, once you have your food truck, your permits, and your commissary, the last piece is where to sell your food? This is often times the most challenging part of starting a food truck business. The best piece of advice I can give, is don’t go where all the other trucks are going. It sounds counter-intuitive I know, but if you want longevity in this business I suggest you start building your own niche / locations. Don’t try to piggy-back off of, or steal, from others.

Good luck on your maiden voyage. May the food truck God(s) bless you with good food, good fortune, and good fun.

Food Trucks For Sale

Check out RoadStoves (www.roadstoves.com) for a listing of food trucks for sale.