Burning Man will not allow any trucks with commercial logos, says U-Haul. Luckily, they have come up with a Burning Man kit they can sell you to cover all the decals – including Ford and General Motors logos.
Purchase your kit here, it costs $25 and takes an hour and a half to apply, you will need to remove it after the event also.
Is this yet another rule? An unwritten rule, now being more publicly enforced, complete with extra things to buy? What if you have an El Monte RV? All these questions answered on The Car Starter,a specialty blog, tune in!
Covering U-Haul® Logos
Per Burning Man rules, trademarks and logos are not permitted at the event. In order to safely cover the logos and markings on a U-Haul truck or trailer, you can purchase a U-Haul decal kit. This covering material will allow you to easily cover all logos for the duration of Burning Man. When the event is over, the decal can come right off without leaving any residue or damage behind. Using any other covering material can damage the truck or trailer and result in additional fees, as well as costly repairs to the truck/trailer.
[Update 7/28/15 12:14pm]
There’s nothing technically in BMOrg’s official rules that force you to do this, it’s more of an “unwritten rule” like DJ Lineups. The way U-Haul present the information, though, makes it sound like this is a requirement of Burning Man, that you won’t even get through the gate if you don’t do it.
U-Haul are using BMOrg’s reputation for setting lots of rules as a tool to make money off Burners. They can charge $25, and point to the Ten Principles. “Pay us for Decommodification“. It’s commercial genius: I predict we will see this revenue stream replicated by many other service providers.
Watch how many Burnier-Than-Thous will now come out to support this and say “yeah! it’s the rules! Everyone must do this!”, thus helping U-Haul sell even more Decommodification Kits™. Great viral marketing.
[Update 7/28/15 5:58pm]
Halcyon thinks this is a way to follow the Principles, not someone selling a Burning Man product which presumably is against the Principles.
Clearly people have been duct taping over their truck logos for years. This is a way to follow the principles and avoid damage/fees. I think this is a great example of corporations working *with* the community.
He has gone further, publicly endorsing U-Haul with a very favorable post over at burningman.com titled Corporate Courting.
He, and some others commenting, feel that charging $25 for a kit to assist with your Decommodification is more helpful than ironic. A kind gesture, rather than something to link U-Haul with Burning Man in commercial sponsorship, transactions, or advertising. Well, the web site ain’t called uhaul.com/tenprinciples …
So, let me get this straight.
“Buy this Burning Man kit for $25”: totally fine with the Decommodification Principle.
“download my track for free”: against Decommodification.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
[Update 7/28/15 11:25pm]
Stuart Shoen, Executive Vice President at U-Haul and a third generation member of the billionaire family behind it, has left a detailed comment at burningman.com. It seems they tried to work with the Org, but hit a brick wall of stony silence. They persevered and went it alone, coming up with this offering as best they could to fit within Burning Man’s rules (written, unwritten, and “just guidelines”). The objective is reducing damage to their vehicles, not making money or exploiting Burning Man for their marketing. He sounds pretty sincere to me and I commend U-Haul for making this happen despite zero support from BMOrg.
Thanks to the author for your initial assessment. I understand your suspicions, but I would like to assure you that you are reading us correctly in that we are not trying to pander or exploit. We’re just trying to be helpful. The following statement is 100% correct:
“I don’t see this as an attempt to sell you on a U-Haul, but to have a harmonious experience bringing a U-Haul to Burning Man.”
The truth is: misuse of our equipment by Burners or anyone else diminishes our ability to serve our intended customer: the DIY Household Mover. When our trucks are misused, they require added costs to return to service and while getting fixed, they are out of service and unavailable for other customers to use. I assure you, there is no event on the North American continent that has a comparable effect on our equipment. There is nothing like the Burning Man festival as far as impacting large amounts of our trucks in a deleterious or potentially deleterious way. [So much for Leave No Trace! – Ed.] This content’s purpose is, 100%, to mitigate the damage, not to increase the income related to these rentals. After years of trying various behind-the-curtain tactics (all unsuccessful), we decided to try to simply talk to our customers about it.
That said, a few things:
First off, U-Haul attempted to contact the organizers of Burning Man in an effort to publish this content in a way that they would have preferred. Our attempts to communicate were never answered or even acknowledged. We would have liked some guidance along the way and we never got it. Please accept my apologies for not having better etiquette. This isn’t our turf and this was our best shot. We will take down the term “Barter Supplies” and just call them “supplies”. Obviously, we got that wrong. Happy to change it.
Second, Tanner’s comment represents a great deal of misinformation about the structure, operation and procedures of U-Haul. I won’t dignify or try to talk him out of his opinion about our equipment, but his misstatements of fact are just that, and not relevant to this conversation. For example, Ryder is no longer in this business and hasn’t been for years. Also, I’ll kindly ask everyone not to hit anything on our equipment with a wrench. I wouldn’t do that to your car even if I paid you to borrow it, so please don’t do it to ours.
Now, I’ll try to let everyone down easy here: U-Haul is a for-profit enterprise. It pays a lot of salaries and plenty of good things flow from them. So I won’t apologize for it, and likewise I won’t ask anyone to apologize for embracing the values that the festival embodies. I have no social agenda except to try to help all our customers do what they want to do in a way that doesn’t prevent another customer from doing what they want to do. Maybe you disagree, but I think it’s totally appropriate and within bounds for my team and I to try to talk to our customers about how to use (or how not to use) our equipment.
We’ve been in business for 70 years, and we know where our bread is buttered. Our bills and salaries are paid by the DIY Household Mover, and we’ve earned their business by offering them products, services, and help in a chaotic time (moving) that is worth paying for… and not by conning them on a one-time basis. Our Company’s business model is the “specialization of use and the division of ownership”. Our business is dependent on being part of a community, not fleecing it. We’ve lost customers when we’ve screwed this up; we win customers when we get it right. This, not the expenditure of an advertising budget, is how our business lives and dies. I would also like to categorically state that U-Haul is spending zero advertising dollars behind this communication. The only people that have been sent this message are individuals who have already rented equipment. If this were an ad campaign, this one would fail in epic proportions.
As I said, this content is sent to existing customers according to very specific parameters that have nothing to do with piercings or hair color. We put videos on YouTube for the exact same reason individuals put their cat videos on YouTube: so that people looking for this content might actually find it. This is also the reason that we use the festival’s name instead of referring to it generically. We didn’t see the point of trying to provide information to a very specific group (i.e., individuals considering taking U-Haul equipment to the Burning Man festival) and not mention specifics about that group. And yes, our legal team made sure we only use the name in a legal and permissive way.
Of course, some people are incredibly and incontrovertibly suspicious of anyone in business. I’m not here crusading to change any of that. I’m here to clear up our intentions, and respect all the perspectives out there. All I ask is that you respect ours, which is simply: if you’re not going to use our equipment in its intended use case scenario (DIY Household Moving), then please don’t make it hard for other customers who do. That’s all our content is about.
Thanks for your time.
Executive Vice President, U-Haul International
What do you think, Burners? Is U-Haul being a good corporate citizen, helping Burners to avoid fines and respect Burning Man’s Ten Principles at the same time? Or are they yet another big corporation cashing in on Burning Man?