Conscious of the fact I’ve been doing a lot of footie and tv posts recently I thought I’d better add fill up the more specialised sections. Hopefully a few more of you will be enjoying the delights of car 3rd name collecting (or at least spotting). No? I bet you do – it gets to you. Here’s another pastime which I thought was my personal property. Actually as I’ve been validating some of my findings, I discover there are armies of people doing it – I’m talking lorry-spotting. Sounds dull as hell I know but as I’ve said before, I needed something to keep my mind active whilst commuting. But I didn’t just collect haulier names, there had to be a point to it….
The first aim was spotting the crappest logo design on the rear of the lorries. You used to get some real home-made horrors. A particular favourite of the haulier (particularly from up north) was the series on initials overlaid on each other like some school crest from the 50’s. Then there’d be the variety of designs where a series of initials would be crafted to look like a speeding lorry. Or the initials made to interlock neatly you know like Pd or db or wvw etc. As I’ve been consulting for the brilliant marketing services company KG (see bloglist) who specialise in brand design I’ve been taking a keen interest in the really rubbish logo devices and noting down the company’s contact details. There are always tons of contact means on the back of lorrries. Some of them still have telex numbers – does anybody remember that? Anyway I take a note of the e-address and e-mail the MD of the company to tell him how crap his company logo is and how KG could design something far more suitable, contemporary and impactful. Sad to say, none of them have ever responded positively. I tend to think that the crapper the design, the more likely it was to be designed by the MD himself (no doubt a lot of hauliers have fine creative skills) or his wife/mistress or 12 year old kid. Their loss but I enjoy the thrill of seeing some awful designs. The lorries from Eastern Europe (particularly Poland for some reason) and Turkey tend to be especially prone to design nightmares. It’s true.
Sometimes the problem isn’t bad design but just an assumption that I recognise the company from the rear-end logo. It happens a lot with initials like POZT or KW or just the company name like Wells or Cobbage with no other details to explain what POZT do. It’s not always haulage either. Often I’m surprised to find that POZT is something like the leading feminine hygiene product in Estonia. Or that Cobbage are Lincolnshire’s leading board games manufacturer. Bloody awful marketing techniques unless they’re deliberately targetting bored 50+ year old male commuters who can be bothered to google their name later. I’m assuming I fall into a narrow sociological grouping, especially one interested in feminine hygiene products.
So the next activity does rely on noting the names of haulage companies. You all know Eddie Stobart from the UK and how they christen all the lorries with individual girls’ names (front offside edge)? Course you do. Well I like to collect other family names both from England eg Richards and Sons and Fred Sherwood (Shepshed). Do you know Fred set up the business decades ago. The business passed to his 2 sons when he died, then some time later one of them died too. The surviving son is now the figurehead for the company and his boys now run the business. But Fred’s name survives on the lorries. You see, there are real depths to explore here.
But my particular pleasure is to note family names from all parts of Europe. Norbert Dentressangle and the Girauds and Gondrands from France, Willi Betz from Germany, the Lanutti’s from Italy, Jan de Rijk and Harry Vos from Holland and the Sostmeiers from Rumania. Don’t ask me why I do this. It’s bizarre. But I’m not alone, there are serious collectors out there; check out http://www.lorryspotting.com (I kid you not), or for pictures http://www.hankstruckpictures.com, or for modellists check out http://www.anticsonline.co.uk. I’ll have you know one of my very good friends collects model lorries and displays them proudly in his office. He’s also great company over lunch, so there.