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“Doing well is the result of doing good. That’s what capitalism is all about.”

What do you do when your ad budget is in tatters, but you need to get the word out?

You reflect on Mr. Adnan Kashoggi’s comment above: Doing well is the result of doing good.

And, to help stimulate your thinking, I have a press report about the E-ONE Company and how they did well by targeting a give-away at a market segment closely tied to their  business.  (The entire release appears below.)

Here’s the story

E-ONE manufactures firefighting equipment. To promote themselves at a recent fire equipment convention, it came up with the idea to give away a fire truck to the fire department that got the most votes as the “most deserving” department in the country. Of course, getting the most votes would take a lot of work and a lot of conversation about E-ONE’s equipment. So, E-ONE was smart about their give-away. The interesting things to me about this promotion is:

  • The winning department was from Powellsville, NC, population 259!  (Powellsville is located in the middle of nowhere, about 50 miles west of Elizabeth City, NC.)
  • The Powellsville VFD managed to get 7,000 votes – out of the 16,000 (yep, 16,000) total. That’s a lot of buzz about E-ONE.  (I’d say the Powellsville VFD has some pretty plucky friends who love them intensely.)
  • There were 650 fire departments that entered the contest.  I don’t know how many VFDs there are in the country, but I do know that 650 prospective fire truck purchasers is a LOT of prospective fire truck purchasers.

So, what do you think? Did E-ONE get a bunch of publicity? Yep. Did they get publicity on the cheap? Well, the fire truck they gave away was “valued” at $170,000, which, I think, means that E-ONE has less than $100,000 in the deal. Based on what I know about advertising costs, I’d say E-ONE  got maybe $250,000 in press for $100,000. Not too shabby. (And there were other sponsors involved and they may have cut E-ONE’s cost even more.)

So, is there a lesson here for a banker?

Would any of you like to talk about it? Maybe, you’d like to do something similar? Call me. We can help you do this.

Powellsville, NC, Wins New E-ONE Fire Truck


OCALA, FL — The seven anxious finalists stood at the front of the stage facing a large crowd of onlookers Friday afternoon in the E-ONE booth during the 2009 FDIC. After three weeks of canvassing for votes for E-ONE’s ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition, the moment they had been waiting for had finally arrived.

These seven finalists were chosen from more than 650 fire departments throughout the nation who entered the competition for a chance at winning a new E-ONE Tradition ES pumper, valued at over $170,000.

Fire Chief David Powell’s eyes swelled with tears as his department, Powesville Volunteer Fire Department in Powellsville, NC, was announced as the winner of E-ONE’s 2009 ‘Tell Us Your Story’ fire truck give away contest.

“Winning this truck is a big relief for the guys in our department. A huge financial burden has been lifted off our shoulders and we can now focus on purchasing safety equipment like an extrication tool and turn out gear that our department cannot be without,” said Chief David Powell. “E-ONE’s ‘Tell Us Your Story’ contest has done so much more than just given a fire truck to a department in need, E-ONE and its sponsors have raised awareness of the hardships of volunteer fire departments across the country.”

E-ONE launched the competition in January, after returning to private ownership in August 2008 through a management buyout and wanted its employees and the fire service to be a part of something momentous.

“Not only did we want to give back to the industry in a big way, but we also wanted our employees to be a part of something meaningful,” said Peter Guile, CEO of E-ONE. “Our employees are the driving force behind the success of the Tradition ES product line, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay it forward than by offering our Tradition ES pumper as a prize to a fire department in need.”

While Powellsville VFD was clearly the winner with more than 7000 of the 16,000 votes, there were six other departments on the stage who were equally deserving: Hines VFD in Hines, Oregon; Gallatin Sunnyside VFD in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Oneida Volunteer Fire Department in Clay County, Kentucky; Weaverville Fire Department in Weaverville, California; Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department in Jackson County, Oregon; and Five Points Volunteer Fire Department in Washington County, Florida.

With more than 650 entries, it’s clear that these seven departments along with many others throughout the nation are in dire need of updated apparatus and equipment. In his presentation to the winner, Guile appealed to members of the fire service by asking them to assist the six runners up or a department in need in their area.

“Hopefully this competition will raise awareness of the plight of many volunteer fire departments throughout the nation,” said Guile. “We ask that you join us in paying it forward, by considering donations for these departments with any surplus apparatus, hoses, air packs, turnout gear and anything else that might be helpful.”

So far, departments throughout North Carolina and the nation have done just that. Departments in Indiana, Wisconsin and several departments in North Carolina are offering to donate various lose equipment ranging from hoses, nozzles and air packs to go along with Powellsville’s new Tradition ES. Other offers of equipment continue to be been made for the other finalists, from across the US.

Not wanting the other six finalists to leave empty handed, Havis-Shields donated tripod scene lights to the Hines Volunteer Fire Department of Hines, OR, and Gallatin Sunnyside Volunteer Fire Department of Allegheny County, PA, who came in second and third respectively, and TFT(R) donated air packs to all six of the runners up.

E-ONE would again like to thank the generous sponsors, without whom this contest would not have been possible: International(R), Maudlin International(R), Hale(R), Class 1(R), Akron Brass(R), R.O.M.(R), Federal Signal Safety and Security Systems, UPF(R), O-Fab(R), RealWheels, TFT and Havis-Shields.

As a leading manufacturer of first responder vehicles, E-ONE engineers, manufactures and markets mission-critical vehicles including custom and commercial pumpers and tankers, aerial ladders and platforms, command and communication apparatus, quick attack units, industrial trucks, and aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles. The company sells its products world-wide and is headquartered in Ocala, Florida. E-ONE is an ISO 9001 registered and CCC certified manufacturer. For more information, visit www.e-one.com .

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