Lowe’s fleet isn’t the typical white company car with a black identification number on the rear bumper; we have taken that concept to a new extreme, painting our white trucks and boats with black zebra stripes. The idea first came about as a safety precaution after Hurricane Katrina. On site in New Orleans, surveyors kept losing sight of their crews on the water. One boat was painted with zebra stripes to stand out in the water; then our sense of fun was roused, so the truck that hauled the boat was painted to match.
The attention garnered during the travels of the two vehicles led to an entirely new branding campaign. Lowe’s management took the bold (but fun) step of zebra striping all of our trucks and survey boats; we officially adopted the zebra as our mascot, Zebra-striped pens, pencils, mugs, notepads, and water bottles were handed out to clients and staff. Tim Lowe, then President of the firm, was having so much fun, he had his car zebra striped and challenged all the partners to do the same, which they did. A new tagline was created, “We earn our stripes every day” to underscore the value we place on client service and integrity.
Around this time a bizarre incident on I-75 in Atlanta played right into the zebra stripe branding campaign. A baby zebra fell off a truck and was hit by a motorist. The injured animal was retrieved by a nearby animal rescue shelter, but its injuries were so severe, the shelter’s staff transported the zebra to the veterinary school at Auburn University in a van they had taken the seats out of.
Lowe Engineers immediately offered assistance to the injured real life mascot, who had acquired the name “Evidence” – what the police officers investigating the accident kept calling him. When Evidence was well enough to leave Auburn, Lowe was tapped to bring him to his new home at the rescue shelter, which we did in style – in a horse trailer drawn by a zebra-striped truck, and with a police escort in each state. The local media captured the journey and the irony and humor of a zebra striped truck pulling a zebra.
Today, all of Lowe Engineers zebra-striped vehicles are earning their stripes throughout the Southeastern U.S., showing that the Lowe Team does know how to have fun!