As part of the Experience Gendex marketing campaign launched in August 2011 to promote the release of three new digital imaging products, the big blue bus has logged more than 50,000 miles while crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada.
The Experience Gendex bus has logged more than 50,000 miles in 12 months and made more than 80 scheduled stops at dental practices, dental schools, trade shows, and related events across North America. All images courtesy of Gendex.
This week it makes its last stop in Bucyrus, OH at Oakwood Dental, winner of the company's GXDP-700 Panoramic x-ray sweepstakes, another part of the Experience Gendex campaign.
In addition to spending 14 months on the road, the Gendex bus was nearly a year in the making itself. The goal was to create a mobile showroom that was conducive to learning about Gendex imaging systems in a fun and entertaining environment, according to Filipo Impieri, director of marketing for Gendex.
"The essence of this campaign -- whose tagline is 'driving innovation across the nation' -- is our desire to connect with the dental professional and to bring that connection to a new level," he told DrBicuspid.com. "Everything inside was designed to create a very interactive and unique experience for learning about digital imaging in this day and age."
Gendex outfitted the bus with everything from intraoral sensors to cone-beam CT systems, including the following:
Tour manager Ashley Wolf-Harris.
- An extraoral section featuring the new Gendex GXDP-700 Series and GXDP-300
- An intraoral operatory featuring the GXS-700 digital sensors, several GXC-300 cameras, an expert DC intraoral x-ray system, VixWin Platinum imaging software, the new GXPS-500 PSP, and a Pelton & Crane dental chair with KaVo handpieces
- An entire area devoted to online communications
A supporting website featured a blog from the road, pictures and videos from their various stops and special events, and a live bus tracker, Impieri noted.
Matt Poll, driver of the Gendex bus.
In addition to traveling more than 50,000 miles and making more than 80 scheduled stops -- sometimes two in a single day -- at dental practices, dental schools, trade shows, and other events, the bus has played host to more than 6,000 visitors in the past year, he added. To determine where the bus was headed week to week, Gendex staff worked closely with its sales reps and dealer partners to set up open houses, study groups, and practice visits.
"The bus couldn't go from one side of the country to the other in a few days -- the driver couldn't drive more than eight hours a day," Impieri said. "So the challenge of the logistics has been to optimize the tour from one stop to the next (usually centered around trade shows). And then there was parking -- most of the time it wasn't a problem, but the bus is 46 feet long, so it takes up several parking spots."
Rock-band style tour
Among those instrumental in guiding the bus from place to place and making sure they stayed on schedule was marketing campaign manager Tamra Cornwall-Andress. Other key members of the team included tour manager Ashley Wolf-Harris, driver Matt Poll, Gary Piper, Aric Dorado, and John Steck.
At times the experience was like being on tour with a rock band, Cornwall-Andress told DrBicuspid.com.
“We had one person ask if we did mammograms.”
— Tamra Cornwall-Andress, marketing
campaign manager, Gendex
"We had one person ask if we did mammograms, and several thought we were a mobile dentist office," she said. "Others wanted to know if we had someone famous on board."
Marketing campaign manager Tamra Cornwall-Andress.
While there were some challenges -- including inconsistent Internet service, ice storms, "crazy rain," wild fires, some interesting experiences crossing the U.S.-Canada border, and being pulled over three times by traffic cops -- she would definitely do it again, she said.
"Peoples' reactions were great, and it was wonderful to see the cities from different perspectives," she said.
Among the highlights were tailgating with representatives of Henry Schein during a Carolina Panthers football game and surviving torrential rains and flooding during a dental meeting in Canada, Cornwall-Andress said. And, of course, the flash mob at the Greater New York (GNY) meeting last November.
"The flash mob at GNY was amazing!" she said.
Overall, the campaign was a success from a branding and perception perspective, Impieri emphasized.
"The products we are selling are not consumables, so it's not like people were hopping on the bus and whipping out their credit cards," he said. "It is a longer-term selling process. But I think it has been instrumental as part of our commercial marketing and sales strategy. We have a great deal of innovation, and we wanted to communicate this to the dental community and let the doctors experience it for themselves."