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Courier Trucks Campaign: Connect with a Classic

Johnson County Library
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Problem Statement

Libraries do not have a history of utilizing their local advertising agencies on a pro bono basis to assist in the development of a brand identity or to promote a specific program. Johnson County Library wanted to make a concerted effort to brand Johnson County Library and anchor the brand within the core identity of libraries: books.


In 2009, Johnson County Library obtained $150,000 in pro bono work from Barkley Advertising Agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Communications Manager Kasey Riley met with the Vice President and Creative Director of Barkley advertising to complete a Creative Brief on Johnson County Library. Together, they established some concepts that would become the basis for campaign, utilizing the library’s four courier trucks as media. The library spent just $5,000 to wrap the trucks with Barkley’s concepts and designs. The innovation of this program is twofold: working with an advertising agency on a pro bono basis and developing a campaign that focuses on the core identity of libraries, i.e. books.


The result of the campaign was print and broadcast publicity on the local and national level. The trucks hit the streets of Johnson County in June 2009 and received a great deal of media attention. Stories ran on local television news and in newspapers. The campaign was mentioned on NPR’s Blog of the Nation and Creativity.com. Read what the national public thinks about the campaign at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/talk/2009/07/_source_getty_images.html The campaign Barkley developed is clever, charming, anchored in books, and has been so well received that the library offers the images as downloadable computer “wallpaper” from its site.

In addition to media coverage, the trucks received attention from patrons, who immediately began e-mailing and tweeting their delight with the tongue-in-cheek literary references. Simultaneously, courier truck drivers were met with questions such as, “What kind of fish is Captain Ahab selling?” and “Where is Dr. Hyde’s pharmacy?”

Taking its cue from the campaign, the library has launched a series of online book clubs called “Connect with a Classic” that are currently in progress. The kick-off for the Moby Dick online book club was held on-site at the Central Resource Library on January 24, 2010. Renowned Melville expert Dr. Elizabeth Schultz discussed why Moby-Dick, published in 1851, remains the great American novel. This program was followed by a hands-on tutorial about how to easily join and participate in the online discussion. See all the readers’ comments at: http://readingmobydick.wordpress.com/ More online book clubs based on the Courier Trucks Campaign are planned.