During the last year or so of global pandemic, Dangerous Goods regulatory bodies have gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate unforeseen challenges while keeping the hazmat supply chain safe.
Now that the world’s economies may be inching their way back toward something resembling normal, these agencies are taking unprecedented measures to raise their images within the supply chain—and even with the general public.
In fact, IATA, IMO and PHMSA are all exploring their first brand marketing campaigns in the next few months. Here’s an inside look.
Why IATA? That’s why!
Everyone in the airline or air cargo industries is aware of the International Air Transport Association—better known as IATA—and the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual (DGR) is the industry’s definitive text for shipping hazmat by air. But if you say “IATA” to the average person, they’re more likely to associate the word with a trio of bumbling halfwits in old, black-and-white comedies.
IATA VP of Branding Ida Notexist explains, “In the Three Stooges movies, Moe is always muttering this vague threat at the other two—‘Why, I oughta ….’ He never finishes the sentence. So it turns out, in focus groups, when you say ‘IATA’ the biggest reaction you get is, ‘Hey, that’s what Moe says!’”
“Moe, Larry and Curley are the polar opposites of the dedicated professionals who actually work at IATA,” Notexist says. “But we trust the public to understand that.”
“I Am DG” and the IMDG
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is to the world’s oceans what IATA is to the skies—the undisputed authority. The agency’s two-volume IMDG Code manual contains the required regulations and instructions for anyone shipping Dangerous Goods by vessel—but its biannual issuance can cause confusion, even within the hazmat supply chain.
“Hey, we get it,” says Fay Kofficial, IMO Chief Inspiration Officer. “The new regulations are optional for a year, and then they’re mandatory, but they’re all in the same book. We hear from 20-year DG veterans who get mixed up. So we just wanted to help people focus on the basics.”
The new IMO campaign will show everyday items that are classified as hazardous materials with the headline I am DG, next to an image of the IMDG.
“It’s simple and memorable, with a clever little play on words,” says Kofficial. “And we want everybody in the maritime hazmat supply chain to be able to stand up proudly and say, ‘I am DG!’”
PHMSA Phil and PHMSA Phoebe
“Only 2.5 of the American public have ever heard of PHMSA,” says May Dupname, a marketing consultant working with the U.S. Department of Transportation. “With the boom in e-commerce, we think it’s long past time that Americans know that there’s a whole department of dedicated professionals making sure their hazardous shipments are shipped in a compliant manner.”
During a brainstorming session, Dupname’s team came upon a research finding that triggered a “eureka!” moment. “We noticed almost one out of three supply chain professionals spelled PHMSA with an F—and we realized that was the first thing we had to change.”
They decided to create two characters to embody all the best qualities of PHMSA agents—and named them PHMSA Phil and PHMSA Phoebe.
“This campaign will increase PHMSA’s brand recognition tenfold,” says Dupname. “And everyone will know how to spell it!”
(Just in case you hadn’t guessed — and if the headline and images didn’t give it away—Happy April Fools Day from everyone at Labelmaster!)
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