Pit Stop Portables Finds Its Marketing Superpower

This is the first in a two-part series about creative marketing

Pit Stop Portables Finds Its Marketing Superpower

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What’s your portable sanitation company’s superpower? Is your service faster than a speeding bullet? Do your techs have the power of invisibility at special events? Or the ability to leap over 10 portable restrooms in a single bound?

For Pit Stop Portables in British Columbia, it’s serving customers while creating a strong, memorable brand for its large portable restroom company in western Canada. One way they do that is through its clever comic strip, The Adventures of Peyton Pit Stop.

“We’ve had a ton of fun with it,” says Shannon Mitchell, director of marketing for Pit Stop. “From an internal standpoint, people love it.”

The company, which was founded in 2005 and has more than 6,000 portable restrooms, has embraced the superhero theme to help brand its business. It’s a unique form of sales and marketing.

Almost upon inception of Pit Stop, superheroes have been a part of the company and its culture. Rob Mitchell, Pit Stop president, has a drawing of a superhero — with his face — on his wall. And while none of the company employees are professed comic book geeks, Shannon Mitchell says the superhero theme started with that picture.

The theme branched off into employee bios and stylized cartoon images on the company's website. “Each has their own superhero name and superpowers,” Mitchell says. “We really want them to dig deep” to create their personas.

For example, her persona is the Bubblegum Genie, with superpowers of imagination, precognition, speed and agility — definitely useful for a marketing guru.

“From there, the idea of creating a comic came up a few years back,” says Paige Paquette (aka Velvet Delusion), Pit Stop marketing assistant. “We decided it would be cool to have our own characters. As we were growing, we wanted to avoid copyright issues; we wanted to create our own superhero characters.”

So, the team, as Mitchell recalls, “hung around and got comic nerdy” and brainstormed their idea into fruition. 

Pit Stop Portables Finds Its Marketing Superpower

The June 2019 edition of The Adventures of Peyton Pit Stop.

Pit Stop Portables Finds Its Marketing Superpower

The July 2019 edition of The Adventures of Peyton Pit Stop.

Pit Stop Portables Finds Its Marketing Superpower

The August 2019 edition of The Adventures of Peyton Pit Stop. Catch the full story on Pit Stop Portables' website.

The birth of Peyton Pit Stop

The Adventures of Peyton Pit Stop launched at the beginning of 2019; Paquette writes copy for the strip, which focuses on Peyton — a hero who is dedicated to “doing things others don’t want to do and fighting the everyday challenges within the waste industry that our employees and customers face,” according to the website.

The company had a specific idea for the look of the characters, Mitchell says. So, Pit Stop placed ads at local college art departments, where they discovered artist Jingzhou Li, who illustrates the comic.

“We work with him on bringing it to life,” Paquette says, “really making sure that our brand is represented.”

“It’s about the challenges we face in our industry each day — last-minute orders, the nincompoops, who are those who get happy with the permanent pens and graffiti,” Mitchell says. “We just write down all the different challenges that we have.”

While the comic strip is posted on the Pit Stop website, it is also part of the company’s newsletter targeted at customers.

“We were trying to tap into something that showcases who we are,” Mitchell says. “It makes us stand out.”

And while she says the benefits at this point are hard to measure, Mitchell says, “Will we get some traction over time? I think so.”

Into the future

Pit Stop plans on continuing the storyline of Peyton Pit Stop in 2020.

“That’s what we’re working on now,” Mitchell says. “We haven’t seen any companies in any industry do anything similar. If someone was to copy us, well, I think we do a fantastic, top-notch job on everything we do.”

While the comic strip certainly enhances the brand and image of Pit Stop, Mitchell doesn’t purport that it improves the image of the portable sanitation industry as a whole.

“I don’t know that it improves [the industry’s] image,” she says. “I think it goes back to who we are as a company: We are classy, we get in there, we roll our sleeves up, we do a job that most people don’t want to do.

“It’s showcasing our corporate culture, our brand, our integrity. We try to live by work hard, play hard.”

That’s all part of the power of Pit Stop’s corporate culture. “We really resonate with superheroes as a company,” Mitchell says. “It’s really quite out of this world.”

Don’t forget to check out the second story in the series covering Pit Stop's other marketing endeavors.


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