It’s On The Truck, It’s On The Web
U-Haul SuperGraphics - leading by example
U-Haul has always been the leader in community service. From its inception, the company’s premise was to help others find an easier, more cost-effective way to move their household goods from one location to another throughout North America.
Always in the pursuit of excellence, U-Haul wanted to do even more for the communities it serves. That’s why the SuperGraphics Program was created 20 years ago as a salute to the United States and Canada. SuperGraphics have evolved and grown in many ways, but the focus of the program – giving thanks and paying tribute to North American communities – remains the same. Quite simply, SuperGraphics are our way of giving back to the communities we serve.
Venture Across America and Canada SuperGraphics aren’t just eye catching pictures that U-Haul artists dream up and creatively place on vehicles. They are carefully researched rare findings, little-known facts and mysteries that exist throughout the United States and Canada.
Many of us think that we need to travel to distant and exotic lands to see such amazing discoveries. However, through careful, diligent research and skillful artistry, U-Haul brings new discoveries to our own backyards! But we don’t stop at simply placing an extraordinary picture on the sides of our vehicles. We keep the intrigue alive by putting each graphic on the uhaul.com Web site so that teachers, children and parents – the people U-Haul serves – can find even more information on the graphic that just drove by them on the freeway!
The space each graphic occupies on our trucks is priceless. It’s not for sale. We could sell this space to corporate America, but U-Haul believes we must give something back to the communities we serve. To this end we say, "Thank you, North America, for the mysteries you have revealed to us."
Join us now as we look at the history of SuperGraphics. We’ll examine the difference between the classic "America’s Moving Adventure and Canada's Moving Adventure" graphics and the modern "Venture Across America and Canada" graphics, take a glimpse into the future of SuperGraphics and we’ll even give you a step-by-step look at how SuperGraphics are made!
SuperGraphics are born
In 1988, U-Haul launched the SuperGraphic program titled America’s Moving Adventure and Canada’s Moving Adventure respectively. Over 250 different images have been created since the SuperGraphics program began, each one honoring individual states and provinces, and saluting North America’s public. Examples of some of the first SuperGraphics were South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore and Florida’s Space Shuttle.
The program became an international hit almost immediately, and was praised for its spectacular artwork and compelling subject matter. These "Classic" edition graphics have won national industry awards for vehicle color design. As a result, several major companies, including airlines, began riding our coattails by creating their own pictorial images.
While the trucks are adorned with images that represent each U.S. state and Canadian province, the trailers display images that honor individual cities. The SuperGraphics program was envisioned as a medium to recognize and honor each state and province. U-Haul has always appreciated its special partnership with North America’s moving public, and that is why the SuperGraphics Program came into being as a medium to recognize and honor each state and province – a salute, if you will.
From "Classic" SuperGraphics to "Venture Across America and Canada" SuperGraphics
By 1997, thousands of SuperGraphic-adorned U-Haul trucks and trailers were crisscrossing North America, emblazoned with artistic renditions of nationally recognized aspects of states, provinces and cities. These SuperGraphics boasted the individuality of many places throughout North America and were seen by U-Haul and the public alike as points of pride and admiration for local communities, and U-Haul promotes these communities so they can be preserved for the benefit of future generations to come.
Later in 1997, the exciting "Venture Across America and Venture Across Canada" campaigns began. It ushered in a whole new campaign created around mystery and mystery revealed. These SuperGraphics deal with subject matter that is less well known nationally and internationally, yet which plays an important role in the local area where it is based. U-Haul realized these SuperGraphics would be a great way to convey these locally popular subjects to all of North America.
In order to create the graphic as a detailed educational examination of the subject matter itself, the U-Haul SuperGraphics Team begins the process by gathering information, working through published reports and communicating directly with leading scientists in each field. Then, each graphic poses the thoughtful question: “Where Will U Go Next?”
U-Haul customers’ responses to SuperGraphics have been phenomenal. Thousands of letters and e-mails have been received from people who want to know more about the program, and where they can get promotional items such as posters and T-shirts, as well as how they can suggest ideas for future SuperGraphics. Customers appreciate the fact that U-Haul not only provides communities with great products and services, but also offers these SuperGraphics. The SuperGraphics Program is truly a project that sets us apart from the competition, and that keeps people coming back to U-Haul for all their moving needs.
Education is key
Education is the key element in the new "Venture Across America and Venture Across Canada" series. By approaching unusual and unfamiliar subjects through SuperGraphics, we are inviting people to venture beyond the obvious and challenging them to explore new territory. It is our goal to change their perception of how they view North America.
While the educational impact of this program sometimes is difficult to measure, the scientists we contact for help are pleased and surprised that U-Haul, a moving company, is taking the time and using its resources to emphasize education. Scientists, researchers and historians have been impressed by the lengths our team goes to ensure we are accurate in our depiction and in our Web presentation.
To understand the difference between the modern "Venture Across America and Venture Across Canada" campaigns and the classic "America’s and Canada's Moving Adventure" campaigns, let’s take the example of the state of New Jersey. New Jersey is known as the Garden State; therefore, U-Haul saluted prideful New Jerseyans with a SuperGraphic depicting a vegetable farmer holding a basket of fresh produce. When New Jersey was saluted in the new edition of SuperGraphics, the image of a hardworking miner holding a fluorescent mineral-bearing rock was used.
Many people outside of New Jersey are unaware of the state’s mining heritage. During the industrial revolution, the vast mineral deposits of New Jersey played a very important role in fueling the nations’ growing economy. Today, the state has two mines that hold extremely rare compositions of fluorescent mineral deposits not found anywhere else in the world. These mines are now not-for-profit museums that work hard, through educational efforts, to preserve the heritage of New Jersey’s mining history. The SuperGraphics program prompted the Corporate Philanthropy Award nomination (in the education category) for the U-Haul Company of Northern New Jersey.
The U-Haul Media and Public Relations Department promotes the SuperGraphics Program throughout North America by communicating its message to city, state and provincial representatives. Promotion of the second generation of SuperGraphics includes an unveiling event, for which U-Haul Media and Public Relations and local marketing companies organize a commemorative event in the community depicted in the SuperGraphic. The highlight of each event occurs when the SuperGraphic is officially unveiled, as marketing company staff, organization officials and local dignitaries remove the tarp concealing the vibrant image. The awe in the eyes of onlookers expresses their appreciation and amazement. You can read about SuperGraphic unveilings and view pictures and video of the events in the news section.
The SuperGraphics Program is a great way for our team members to be directly involved with their community. The tribute paid by each new SuperGraphic reinforces our commitment to being a good corporate citizen.
In 2009, U-Haul unveiled two new SuperGraphics promoting the provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario. The two ceremonies were well received and resulted in front-page stories in local newspapers, and were featured on local television newscasts.
SuperGraphics on the Web
When the U-Haul Web Team premiered the "Venture Across America and Canada" campaigns, it immediately boosted the program to a new level. Suddenly, anyone with a computer and Internet access could find any SuperGraphic they wanted, plus they could read all about and gather factual and educational information on the subject matter depicted in each SuperGraphic.
Where will SuperGraphics go next?
The "Venture Across America and Canada" campaigns of SuperGraphics is a work in progress. Forty-eight states and thirteen Canadian provinces and territories have been completed, with just a couple more to feature.
If you have an idea you’d like to share with the SuperGraphics team, we’d love to hear from you. Send us your suggestions and ideas for future SuperGraphics.
Or maybe you have a question about the graphics that you can’t seem to find an answer to? Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the U-Haul Public Relations Department at 1-800-528-0361, ext. 6194, or 1-602-263-6194.
The U-Haul SuperGraphics Program will continue to intrigue and educate our customers for years to come. The only question now is …