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Trucker Horn Salute

Entered in Hospitality, Integrated Campaign


As the roadside beacon for America’s truckers, we had the opportunity to shine a light on this large segment of Motel 6 guests, and thank them for keeping us going when the rest of the world stopped in 2020.

Our main objective was to improve perception of the Motel 6 brand among guests, especially truckers. The primary goal of this work was to increase awareness and engagement. Key metrics included reach, engagement and positive sentiment.


There are 1.7 million men and women working as long-haul drivers in the country, day in and day out. But the importance of what this audience does is often unseen, misunderstood and overlooked.  “Nobody cares about us. Everybody’s perception of a truck driver is we clog up traffic and we get in the way.” That is how this audience feels. Yet all they want is to be seen as human beings, toiling long hours, who are conscientious and careful and want, above all, to get home safe to their loved ones.


Whether they realize it or not, truckers are the ones moving our economy forward; the unsung heroes of the pandemic. Traveling millions of miles with essentials we wouldn’t have access to otherwise: vaccines, fresh produce — and we all remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020. These are the people that keep our shelves stocked and our home’s running. Yet they don’t get the credit they deserve.


Our strategy was to celebrate and connect our community of truckers by bringing back a simple, iconic gesture: the trucker horn salute. This unmistakable gesture of gratitude that kids in the backseat used to give to trucks passing by, had been replaced with digital distractions like tablets and phones.


We implemented the ‘Bring Back the Trucker Horn Salute’ through an integrated campaign with both paid and owned efforts. A long-form video featuring iconic spokesman Tom Bodett kicked off the campaign, inviting viewers to start pumping their arms again. Radio targeted kids in the backseat, calling on them to put down their phones and pump their arms. Then, trucker specific radio ads on Red Eye Radio and TruckerPath (a community app) reminded drivers to keep an eye out for arm-pumping passengers. Our social content called Open Road, a budget-friendly travel guide, featured 3 stories of real trucker drivers and their lives on the open road through paid and organic content. Rounding out the campaign was a dedicated microsite, programmatic display banners, gas station tv, email, and added value content from our two trucker partnerships.


All in an effort to bring back the human connection to truckers when they needed it most.


The ‘Trucker Horn Salute’ garnered 12M total impressions, 2 million of which were organic and saw a 400% increase in engagement rate on social. The integrated campaign brought together truckers nationwide, shedding a light on this all too often unseen, misunderstood and underappreciated audience.


Video for Trucker Horn Salute

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Motel 6


Entry Credits